vs. Cy Creek – Tuesday, February 21st
On a nice cool night back at Tully Stadium, the wind was whipping out of the south in the direction of the Spartan offense to start the game. These gusts, however, would make moving the ball around the field difficult against the Cy Creek High School Cougars. Early on, about eight minutes in, Senior Lauren Ahearn would take a shot from about 15 yards out on the left side, but would miss right. Not long after, Sophomore Ryann Weber would find Sophomore Allison Goodwin near the goal, but her shot would bang off the right post for another close call. The Spartans continued to control the ball for the first 25 minutes, but they couldn’t seem to convert. With about two minutes to go in the first half, Freshman Sydney Valentine slides one across the middle to Sophomore Whitney Bui, who finds Goodwin near the goal for a quick shot on the left side, but the goal is waived off as the Spartans are called for being offsides. That would close out the first 40 minutes with no goals for either side, and we would go to halftime tied 0-0.
Just as the second half was about to get underway, you could feel the wind getting much stronger and the Lady Spartans would be playing right into it for the remainder of the match. Just 10 minutes after the restart, coming off a right corner (instead of taking the shot), Sophomore Mary Paul made a quick touch pass to an unmarked Goodwin, who centered the ball in front of the goal to Senior Kristen Geczik, who then takes a quick touch to Weber, who finds the back of the net to get on the board, 1-0. In the 56th minute, Goodwin makes a run up the right side, beating two defenders with a great shot, but the goalie is able to get a paw on the ball, sending it bouncing away where Valentine is able to get a head on it, but just misses outside the left post. At the 61-minute mark, Geczik spots Junior Lizzie Emerson streaking towards the Cougar goal and is able to thread the needle on a 30-yard pass where Emerson receives the ball in stride and taps one in on the far right side to extend the lead to 2-0. Less than two minutes later, Valentine was making a move in the Cougar box and was taken to the ground, which earned a quick whistle and penalty kick. Geczik takes the kick and sees the goalie leaning right and finds an easy goal in the back left corner to move the score to Stratford - 3 and Cy Creek - 0. The Cougars would get their chance to get on the board with a questionable penalty call on the Spartans in the 69th minute from about 15 yards out on a ball that bounced around in the box and couldn’t get cleared to take us to 3-1. This goal seemed to fire up SHS (as it was only the second goal given up in District play this year). Even with the game well in hand, the Spartans clicked up the intensity a notch or two. In the final five minutes of regulation, the Spartans would find the back of the net twice. First, Stratford earned a right corner taken by Paul, who placed a perfect ball for Ahearn to get a header on it to go to 4-1. Then as the game was coming to a close, Paul would get credit for another assist as she sent one in front of the goal where Goodwin was waiting to close out this game, 5-1.
vs. Northbrook HS – Friday, February 24th
On Friday, your Stratford Girls Varsity Soccer team traveled to play the Northbrook High School Raiders on their home turf and try to get the season sweep of their neighbor from the north of I-10. Just four minutes into play, Junior Lizzie Emerson finds Senior Lauren Ahearn streaking up the left side, outrunning the defense and beating the goalkeeper one-on-one to the near post, to go up 1-0. Less than 90 seconds after that goal, Sophomore Ryann Weber makes a long run down the right side and attempts to fire just inside the right post, but the ball hits the post square and ricochets back into play where it hits a Northbrook player and goes into the goal as the keeper looks like she can’t believe what just happened, and just like that the score is 2-0. In the 19th minute, we get to see the duo of Ahearn and Weber again. Senior Kristin Geczik finds Ahearn on a run up the left side leaving her defender behind, and then Ahearn unselfishly forgoes a shot and instead lays it off to a wide-open Weber, who is waiting near the Keeper for an easy finish, and another goal, taking SHS to 3-0. In the 27th minute, Senior Liz Pretzantzin finds herself on the ball in the middle of the field at the 20 yard line and fires a laser at goal, but the ball just misses, grazing the top of the cross bar. As we are approaching halftime in the 32nd minute, Senior Kendall Emery delivers a low corner that connects with Senior Elise LaVern on the near post for a 4-0 Stratford lead. The Spartans had numerous additional chances in the closing minutes of the half, but the Raider defense was able to turn the Spartans away.
About halfway through the second half, at the 59-minute mark, Geczik would send a ball ahead of LaVern, who would outrun the Raider defense and beat the goalie one-on-one for her second goal of the night to push the lead to 5-0. About seven minutes later, at the 67-minute mark, Junior Lizzie Emerson would break away from the Northbrook defense from the left side, making her way across the field to take a shot right-side and push the lead to 6-0. Not too long after this, it was Emerson again making a run up the left side, but this time she would pass it off to Geczik, who took a quick touch to Weber, who fired to the back right corner for her third goal of the night -- this hat trick would put the Spartans up 7-0. As the game was coming to a close, Sophomore Mary Paul would take a corner kick earned by SHS, and place a perfect ball for Emerson, who put a textbook header on it to close the game out 8-0. With this win, your Spartans go to 10-0 in district with 8 shutouts.
Come out this coming Wednesday night when SHS faces Spring Woods at Tully Stadium at 7:15 pm. We will be honoring our seniors that night as they complete their final year of play with the Spartans.