Soccer Cats edge Bears

Vongni Yang, The Union Democrat /

The Sonora Wildcats soccer team edged the Summerville Bears 2-0 Thursday in the cross-county rivalry match in Tuolumne.

With 12 minutes left in regulation, Casey Storm blasted a shot that sailed past the Bears goalkeeper to put the Wildcats up, 1-0.

"He sent a rocket," Sonora coach Lloyd Longeway said. "That was the biggest difference in the game. Who was going to strike first? A rocket shot. Just a blast. I think the goalie barely got a finger on it. It hit the top post and went in. A shot to the corner of the box. If he doesn't score that, it might have been a 0-0 game. It was a big goal."

Both teams were deadlocked before that goal, but the Bears could have put themselves on top of the scoreboard when they drew a penalty kick on a handball in the box just five minutes before Storm's.

But Wildcat goalkeeper Andrew Klatt denied the Bears penalty shot to keep the match at a standstill.

"Andrew Klatt saved their butts," Summerville Bears coach Dave Reel said. "If Andrew Klatt wasn't there we might win the game."

Summerville created a few opportunities, but with Klatt in front of goal, it was tough for the Bears to finish in the final third.

Left winger Jonathan Abt drew a penalty late that lead to the Wildcat's second goal.

Abt stepped up to the penalty spot, directed a shot off his foot to only have Bears goalkeeper Josh Freedman block it. But Abt, thinking quick, raced to the ball and tapped it in to ice the match.

"I'm just really proud of the guys finishing with two goals in the final 10 minutes," Longeway said.

Freedman had an impressive night of his own. The junior, playing with a broken nose, punched away and saved a few on-goal shots to keep the game close up until the end.

"Luckily, I got my goalie," Reel said. "He got his nose broken yesterday. He shined playing with that broken nose diving for balls. I have to give him the hero award for stepping up and making some plays for us."

The Bears will begin Mother Lode League play when they travel to Linden on Sept. 12.

"Sonora gave us what we needed to go into Linden and fight hard," Reel said. "It was a great game to send us off into league. All I have seen is improvement from game to game. I'm very pleased with where we are. I think we're ready."

For the Wildcats, the team improves to 4-1 and will play at Calaveras on Tuesday.

The Union Democrat
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