vs. Spring Woods High School – Wednesday, March 1st - Senior Night
Tully Stadium had quite a few more fans in the seats on Wednesday night, as the Spartans were honoring the 12 seniors who are in their final year playing Varsity soccer for Stratford High School. After a great pre-game ceremony honoring these incredible girls, the game saw all eleven seniors in attendance take the field together for the kickoff against Northbrook High School. The friends and families in attendance didn’t need to wait long, as just about seven minutes into play Senior Kristin Geczik took a corner kick from the right side and placed a perfect ball to Senior Elle Howell, who redirected it into the goal to put Stratford on the board 1-0. A little further into the first half (with 10 minutes to play until halftime), Sophomore Allison Goodwin dribbled up the right side and centered the ball to Sophomore Ryann Weber, who flipped the ball up and over the goalie’s head to push the score to 2-0. Two minutes later, Sophomore Mary Paul would get fouled outside the Raider’s box and draw the penalty kick. Geczik would fire a beautiful kick from 25 yards out that would just miss - as it banged off the crossbar. Geczik would have another chance at the 34-minute mark with a hard shot that ricocheted off the mid-section of a Northbrook defender and right to Senior Lauren Ahearn, who was there to clean it up and put SHS up 3-0. As time was winding down in the first half, Goodwin would make a nice touch-pass near the goal to Weber, who wasted no time firing it in the back of the net for the fourth Spartan goal of the night. After the ensuing kickoff by Northbrook, Stratford would get a steal with less than 10 seconds on the game clock, and drive toward the Raiders' goal. Then with literally one second left on the clock, Goodwin gets taken to the ground in the Northbrook box and earns the penalty. Geczik would step up to take the penalty kick on Senior Night and left no doubt why she is one of the leaders of the team, as she fires low and hard to the right side to take us to 5-0 at half.
After a quick halftime, we get about 14 minutes into the second half and get to see a trio work the ball in perfect unison. Ahearn makes a quick flick to Weber, who slides the ball swiftly over to Sophomore Hannah Haygood, who fires over the goalie and just under the crossbar to go to 6-0. With the game well in hand, Coach Walters makes a near full-lineup change and shortly after the fresh players hit the field (at 61'), Junior Lizzie Emerson receives the ball about 20 yards out from the goal and lofts a soft shot that initially looks to be short but goes just over the goalie’s head for the seventh goal of the game (7-0). With less than two minutes to go, and as the game is coming to a close, the Senior Night fans get to witness a flurry of footwork and calculated touches that starts with Ahearn, and then moves through Geczik, who slides one to Emerson, who closes out the night with a low, hard shot to the left side - never giving the Raider goalie a chance, wrapping up the victory with an eighth and final goal, 8-0.
vs. Cy Ridge High School – Saturday, March 4th
Your Stratford Spartan Girls Varsity Soccer Team traveled to Pridgeon Stadium to take on the Cy Ridge Rams on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. The Lady Spartans wasted no time in piling up goals in a fast and furious pace, with the first one coming just a few minutes in by Senior Lauren Ahearn to get SHS on the board. Six minutes later, Sophomore Mary Paul gets another goal for the Spartans, but that wouldn’t be all. Minutes later, Sophomore Ryann Weber would slide a ball to a waiting Paul, who would notch back-to-back goals and extend the lead to 3-0. After earning an assist on the last goal, Weber would get one of her own as Ahearn dribbled through traffic, before a quick touch pass to Weber to make it 4-0. Even with a commanding lead, the Spartans didn’t let up on their intensity. On the heels of the last goal, Paul would secure a hat trick with 20 minutes to go in the first half and the fifth goal of the day for SHS. Not to be outdone, Ahearn would take the score to 6-0 with a hat trick of her own on the ensuing possession. As subs were being made for the starters, things would slow a bit, but at the 34-minute mark, Senior Elizabeth Pretzantzin worked the ball up the middle of the field and threaded the needle between two defenders to find Senior Elle Howell. Howell dribbled to the right side of the box and then fired one over the goalie’s head to the far-left post to increase the lead to 7-0 and take us to halftime.
As Stratford took the field in the second half, there were only 10 Spartans on the field, as we finished this game a man down to keep the match competitive – which it did. SHS controlled the ball for a majority of the half and had several shots on goal, but they were unable to convert any of the attempts. At the 62-minute mark, on a ball trying to get cleared from the Spartan end of the field, it was intercepted by Cy Ridge and fired from 20 yards out over the goalie and under the crossbar to put the Rams on the board, 7-1. In a game that was well in-hand from the beginning, this goal fired up the Lady Spartans who kept the ball on the Cy Ridge end for the remainder of the game, and with 3 minutes to go, SHS earned a corner from the right side, taken by Freshman Sara Benton and headed into the goal by Ahearn to close out the game, 8-1.
Make sure to come out and see the Girls Varsity Soccer Team this Tuesday, March 7th as they take on their biggest rival – the Memorial High School Mustangs. With a win or tie, the Lady Spartans will be crowned District Champs! Come cheer them on and show your support as they attempt to maintain a perfect record against their District opponents.