The Union women’s soccer squad celebrated senior Kelsey Wilkes’s 82nd minute goal in what had been a scoreless tie Wednesday night, October 27, at the Smith Memorial Soccer Complex, as they took down non-conference foes Auburn Montgomery 1-0.
The importance of this game may have been overshadowed by the big regular season finale on Saturday that could determine the team’s fate in the conference tournament, but the players knew they had to keep hammering away.
“I knew that we just needed a win,” Wilkes said. “We knew this was going to affect how we play on Saturday. We still came in and worked as hard as we could.”
That they did. This was a hard-fought win for Union. The Warhawks’ defense was stifling nearly the whole game, but the Bulldogs battled vigorously every possession and were able to break through with the score in the end.
That score may not have mattered, however, if it weren’t for the stellar play of junior goalkeeper Kristen Francis. The three-time Conference Defender of the Week recorded her seventh shutout in just 14 games on the year, matching the highest total for a Union goalkeeper since 2011.
“We’ve actually been working on defense quite a bit lately,” Isaac Brooks, head coach, said. “[Francis] is getting the awards, but the defense together is really shutting everything down.”
Union hopes to carry this momentum into Saturday’s colossal Gulf South matchup against North Alabama that could determine the last spot in the conference tournament. Union trails North Alabama by two points in the conference standings and currently sits in the seventh spot with just one regular season game remaining. Should Union win on Saturday, they would earn three points and move ahead of the Lions and into the tournament’s field of six.