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Prep Sports

Senior day a big winner for Lady Bulldogs

STREATOR — The Streator varsity girls soccer club has one remaining home game next Tuesday, but chose Thursday's penultimate home date with Interstate Eight Conference rival Reed-Custer to celebrate its 2018 senior day.

From the weather to the outcome to the play of the team's three seniors, it proved to be a fantastic choice.

Seniors Emma Harris, Brooke Melvin and Ashley McCurdy all had opportunities to shine here at the Streator Family YMCA as the host Lady Bulldogs overcame a relatively slow start to overwhelm the visiting Lady Comets by a final count of 7-0.

"It's bittersweet," said Lady Bulldogs coach J.T. Huey, "because this is the senior group that built us into the team we have today, the team that won a regional championship last year. This is the group of girls who formed that and did it, so we are going to have a very big empty space to fill when they leave.

"That's why today is very emotionally complex for me. We played well and we scored high, but I know I'm going to lose them in about two weeks. That's hard."

It was hard for Reed-Custer to do much of anything Thursday other than do its best to weather the Streator storm.

The Lady Bulldogs — now 9-1-1 on the season, 5-1 in the Interstate Eight — kept the ball on the Lady Comets end for nearly the entirety of the 76 1/2-minute contest, finishing with a telltale 34-1 advantage in shots on goal.

A lot of the actual scoring, however, came later on in the match, though Streator did jump ahead just over four and a half minutes in on a Shannon Paton putback goal off the first of three McCurdy assists.

"It wasn't our last game at home, so today wasn't that sad," McCurdy said, "but we had lots of fun. This group I've been playing with since first grade. We have long memories together, we've been on each other's teams for 11 years-ish, and it's been great.

"I'm really excited for the upcoming regionals. I think we have a really good chance to do it again."

The Lady 'Dogs added two more goals over the opening 40 minutes — a Taylor Hoskins score (Alyssa Eutsey perfect crossing pass assist) and a McCurdy unassisted laser beam just before the break — to take a 3-0 lead into halftime.

Things picked up a bit in the second half, with goals deposited courtesy of Paton, Millie Dean (McCurdy assist), regular goalie Harris after stopping the only shot to reach her in goal before changing jerseys shortly into the second half and scoring with 22:53 remaining, and call-up Ashlyn Rogers (McCurdy's third assist of the day).

"We had (the ball) on their end all day, but our girls are tired," Huey said. "The reschedules from the weather, we have four games over five days, and they're gassed ... but once we started putting the give-and-gos on, we took off with it.

"Their goalie (Reed-Custer's Gabi Perez, who finished with 25 saves), you have to give her credit, she busted her butt stopping us in the first half, and their defense was frustrating us. I think we eventually just wore them out."

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