The Moline girls' soccer team wanted to make a statement in Western Big 6 play on Tuesday. It did so in dominating fashion over its conference rival, United Township.
The Maroons romped to a 5-1 win over the Panthers (9-6, 3-1 WB6) at the Panther Pitch in East Moline. The win secures at least a share of the title with Quincy. The Blue Devils host UT on Friday.
Amber Maland started the job for Moline (13-6, 4-0 WB6), scoring in the 7th minute. She finished the job in the 61st with Moline's fifth and final goal.
"This is UT, our biggest rival of the year," Maland said. "It was great to be able to beat them."
The domination over the Panthers came as a surprise to Maland.
"We expected a great game," Maland said. "We came out out and gave it our all. We hoped to dominate them, but we knew we had to give it our all, and that's what we did."
Kelsi Smith scored twice to match Maland, one on a penalty kick in the 30th minute and the other in the 51st. Jamie Athiser also scored for the Maroons, in the 31st minute.
Bri Hughes had two assists as the Moline passing was tremendous. The Maroons were on the same page, hitting each other in stride all night.
"From the first minute to the 80th, they were the dominant team out there," UT coach Phil Weaver said. "They were the more controlled team out there, the team with more ideas or the better technical ability. Mentally and physically, we had players today that weren't at the races, and it showed."
Panthers goalie Laura Burrill had 15 tough saves. Moline's good ball play made for a busy night for the keeper by getting 20 shots on goal.
"In regards to our passing and ball movement, that's probably the best we played all season," Moline coach Rick Sanchez said. "We had been doing a better job of it, but tonight, it was more consistent."
UT's lone goal scorer was Kyleigh McLaughlin on cross pass from Alora Esparza. Moline held a 3-1 lead at the half.
"They dictated everything that was going on out there," Weaversaid. "It was one of those days where no matter what you're saying and no matter what you're trying to get in the head of each unit, they still weren't making smart decisions out there, certainly in terms of open play."