OTTAWA — The five seniors on this spring's Ottawa High girls soccer team don't have to look very hard to see what they've accomplished in their four years on the Lady Pirates pitch.
They saw it right there on their home field Tuesday evening.
On its senior night, Ottawa defeated visiting La Salle-Peru 6-0. The win improves the Lady Pirates' record to 9-5-1 overall and 5-2 in Northern Illinois Big 12 West play, coming after the on-the-rise program honored its five seniors — Hope O'Dell, Addie McCorkle, Skylar VanMill, Gracyn Tabor and Katie McGraw — who played were playing their final game at King Field.
"I've been waiting for this team to kind of find themselves, and they found themselves on senior night playing their last game on their home field," Lady Pirates coach Sean Porter said. "We play our best here, but we really played our best game tonight. I'm glad to have been a part of it.
"These girls, a lot of them started as freshmen, and it was my first year, and it's great to see (the seniors win tonight) because we were the ones getting beat up on for the longest time, and we've come such a far way. ...
"I'm really glad they got that reward they've been looking for."
A team with a lot of young talent surrounding those cornerstone seniors, Ottawa's next wave of Lady Pirates helped its 12th-grade teammates enjoy a very happy senior day.
Junior scoring machine Kaitlin Falaney put in the first of her four goals on the night just 2 minutes, 56 seconds after the opening whistle off a picture-perfect, long assist courtesy of freshman Reagan Shea. Junior Lexi Sommer made it 2-0 with a 35-yard laserbeam of a goal less than five minutes later, and Kaitlin Falaney scored her second and third goals of the day during a 34-second stretch — the former off a Shea and VanMill double assist, the latter started by Shea's third assist — to make it 4-0 at halftime.
L-P came out of the break a little more aggressive and things got increasingly physical and chippy between the rivals, but like the first half the Lady Pirates managed the only scores — a nice VanMill strike and Kaitlin Falaney's fourth goal of the day, both assisted by freshman Abby Falaney.
Tanlee Eich recorded 13 saves in goal to notch the shutout, aided most consistently on the defensive end by the likes of Destiny Crabbe, Tabor and McGraw on a memorable night for the OHS seniors.
"Oh yeah, we've been looking forward to this one," said VanMill, who finished with a goal and an assist. "L-P, senior night, big field, and it's warm weather, which makes it even better. ...
"I definitely feel proud with how we're leaving the soccer team at Ottawa. We've progressed so much from freshman to senior year, had so many firsts as a team. It's been awesome."