Unstoppable: M-S girls' soccer finishes Apollo Conference undefeated

The Mahomet-Seymour girls' soccer team blanked Taylorville and Mount Zion by identical 7-0 scores earlier this week to finish undefeated in the Apollo Conference.

Also last week, the Bulldogs completed their second comeback of the year, this time against Champaign Central.

"The last two nights were fun nights as we were able to honor our seniors, and at the same time, secure an undefeated conference season," M-S coach Joey Gruner said. "We were able to play lots of players and give several players chances to score goals and get assists."

 

M-S 7, Taylorville 0. Tuesday evening against the Tornadoes, M-S scored four goals in the first half to jump ahead.

Maddy Wade scored the winning goal on an assist from Meredith Johnson-Monfort in the sixth minute of play.

Later, Johnson-Monfort added two goals and Wade added her second.

Erin Lenschow, Michaela Schoolcraft and Marina Moore each added a goal by the end of the night.

Moore dished out two assists. Brooke Benson, Lily Isaac and Haley Lester each had one.

Sarah Hohenstein made one save in goal to secure her 14th shutout of the season.

M-S took 24 shots on goal, while giving up only one.

M-S 7, Mount Zion 0. Against Mount Zion on Monday, the Bulldogs scored three goals in the first half and four in the second half.

Johnson-Monfort recorded three goals and Lenschow added two. Nyah Biegler and Wade each had a goal as well.

Melissa Singleton, Lester, Ainsley Jessup and Schoolcraft each had one assist.

"We have had 16 different players score goals this season, and 13 different players have had at least one assist," Gruner said. "That kind of depth is what has led to the record that this team has earned this season."

Hohenstein made four saves in goal.

M-S had 22 shots on goal, and the Braves had four.

"Our final two games were important to the team and the program," Gruner said. "Even though sectional seeding is complete and the conference race is over, we still need to compete at a high level."

M-S 3, Champaign Central 2. For the second time this season, M-S had to come from down 2-0 to win a match 3-2.

Three weeks ago, the Bulldogs came back to defeat St. Thomas More, and Saturday, M-S came back from a 2-0 deficit to edge Champaign Central.

Central took the lead in the first 10 minutes of the game when Naomi Dupree maneuvered past a couple of Bulldog defenders and scored.

Within two minutes, she passed several defenders and scored again.

"We came out Saturday a little uninspired, but we had game-prepped for exactly what we ultimately faced in the first part of the game," Gruner said. "We knew how Central would play, and that most everything would be going through one exceptional player. Sometimes it just takes seeing it on the field for the players to adjust to the level that they need to shut someone down."

The Bulldogs regrouped and began to contain Dupree from that point on.

With 25 minutes remaining in the half, M-S earned a corner kick.

Lester sent the ball in, and as it was bouncing around off several players in the box, Central ended up scoring its an own goal.

With just under seven minutes to play in the first half, Lenschow found Benson open at the top of the box, and Benson lobbed the ball over the Central keeper to level the score 2-2.

"Once the game was level at 2-2, I felt our depth would likely be the determining factor," Gruner said. "We are a deeper team than Central, and with the heat a major factor, we were able to use several more players and still maintain our level of play. That was a big advantage for us as the game wore on."

In the second half, the Bulldog defense held Central to zero shots on goal.

With 15 minutes remaining in the game, a handball was called on Central just outside of Central's penalty area.

Johnson-Monfort put the free kick directly into the left side of the net for the decisive goal.

Hohenstein made one save in goal to preserve the victory, while the offense finished with 10 shots on goal.

"It is certainly possible to underestimate an opponent based on their record or their play the previous season, and that can be a major factor with high school teams that play each other frequently," Gruner said. "Fortunately we have been able to dig out of the holes that we have dug for ourselves so far this season. We can't keep assuming we will be able to do that in the future, though."

M-S has been rotating about 20-21 players throughout several games and will continue to do that to keep fresh and healthy.

"We have several players who are not often in the spotlight but work hard in practice everyday, and they may only appear in one of every two or three varsity games," Gruner said. "Yet, when they enter the game, they are able to produce at the level we need for the team to be as successful as we have been this season"

That group includes Jessup, Moore, Schoolcraft, Savannah Bennett, Sarah Amjad, Jade Harms, Andrea Penrose and Kelsey Jacobs.

 

Looking ahead

The three wins improved the Bulldogs' overall record to 19-2 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the Apollo Conference.

M-S will play in the second match of the Class 2A Centennial Regional in Champaign at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The second-seeded Bulldogs will play the winner of the first match in which No. 9-seeded Lincoln plays No. 7-seeded Danville.

The winner plays either third-seeded Normal University High or fifth-seeded Centennial in the regional championship at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 19.

The Bulldogs defeated Centennial 3-0 on May 3, but have not played Normal U-High this season.

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