STREATOR — Despite playing through a strong wind, Mother Nature gave the Westmont Lady Sentinel and the Streator Lady Bulldog soccer teams a beautiful day on the pitch for their Interstate Eight soccer match at the Streator Family YMCA.
“We are not getting lucky with the wind lately,” said SHS girls coach J.T. Huey “We played in Princeton the other day, and the wind killed us. As a coach, I don’t want to make weather as an excuse, but when the wind is pushing so hard you can’t put the ball off the ground, it’s frustrating.”
The teams played pretty even in the first half with just an eighth-minute goal by Streator junior Millie Dean from the top of the right side of the penalty box off an assist by sophomore Shannon Paton.
“About midway through the first half,” Huey said, “we were starting to put the ball on the ground into the corner, and that enabled the give-and-gos to take place, and that is how we started to break them down. We knew that our forwards knew how to break them down. They (Westmont) have a young defense.”
It was those give-and-gos that allowed the Lady Bulldogs to put four goals on the scoreboard in the second half on their way to a 5-2 win.
“I think what happened in the second half is that we changed sides,” Huey said. “The players couldn’t hear me in the first half because of the wind. When we switched sides I was able to place them, and then we started clicking. The big change we had in the second half is I encouraged them to talk more like they do in practice. They did that, and that is when they started scoring.”
The Dean-Paton connection worked again for Streator (10-3-1 overall, 5-2 in the Interstate Eight) in the second half, but this time it was Paton putting the ball past Westmont (2-7, 1-6) keeper Anastasia Tikhiy in the 50th minute on the assist from Dean.
Westmont pulled one back nine minutes later, as senior Julia Siroky blasted a shot past SHS senior goalie Emma Harris to make the score 2-1.
Then the floodgates opened for the Lady Bulldogs, as they scored a trio of goals in a span of six minutes.
Lady Bulldog sophomore defender Nadia Murphy starting the scoring blitz in the 66th minute when she got a pass from Paton and put the ball in the back of the net for Paton’s second assist of the game.Then, one minute later in the 67th minute, junior Taylor Hoskins got into the scoring act as she was able to score a goal off of an assist from sophomore Anna Nelson. Dean netted her second assist as she found Yaminia Deleon, who chipped a shot over Tikhiy from beyond the penalty box in the 72nd minute to give SHS a 5-1 lead.
The Sentinels were able to close the deficit to three in the 77th minute when freshman Megan Thompson scored the final goal of the match.
The Lady Bulldogs wrap up the regular season and I-8 Conference play Thursday in Manteno.