MAHOMET — Most girls’ soccer teams in the area have one really good player that you have to shut down. Usually, there will be a supplement of rock-solid players around that superstar that form a complementary cast.
Mahomet-Seymour kinda had that last year with Meredith Monfort-Johnson, who had a storied career and is now playing for the University of Illinois.
But this year is different. Thanks to an inordinate amount of depth and talent, the Bulldogs have scoring options aplenty. Freshmen Cayla Koerner and Brea Benson have been terrific all season. Seniors Maddy Wade, Mackenzie Moore, Maddie Louis and Haley Lester have all scored multiple goals this year.
Brooke Benson, Grace Lietz and Nyah Biegler are all extremely talented players that can be relied on to score consistently.
The depth of options has led the Bulldogs to a 16-1 record and a perfect 5-0 mark in Apollo Conference play. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs honored seven seniors and then went out and destroyed Charleston 6-1. Once again, four different Bulldogs scored at least one goal against Charleston.
“When you look at us, we have stats across the board,” M-S coach Kelsie Briggs said.
“I have five or six girls that can score consistently. It’s way harder when you’re like, ‘Okay, we have six players that we need to shut down.’ We just have a lot of depth and a lot of talent across the board. I’m very lucky.”
Lester, Moore, Wade, Louis, Ainsley Jessup, Sarah Amjad and Alese Hutchison make up the senior class, and they have been terrific leading a group of young-
sters to success. There wasn’t any jealousy when the freshmen trio of Koerner, Lietz and Brea Benson got playing time.
“It says a lot about the maturity level,” Briggs said “They realized that it’s not about them. It’s what is best for our program. How are we going to win? With that being said, it also says a lot about how hard some of these underclassmen are working and how much they want it. When they’re on the field and they get the playing time, they show that they deserve it.”
The Bulldogs are a cohesive unit on the field. Offensively, they slice and dice through their opponents with expert skill.
Defensively, they swarm teams and make their life tough for their opponents. The Bulldogs have only allowed seven goals all season long. No team has scored multiple goals against their elite defense.
“They’re tough, they’re aggressive,” Brigg said. “It’s a strong defense. It’s a one and out and we clear it out. They’re really good at playing it out wide. Makes us stronger defensively too because we trust our teammates enough to play them the ball instead of just boot it out.”
But off the field, they’re a huge group of friends.
Wade is the only senior who will play soccer at the next level as she’ll suit up for Parkland College next year.
Wade has the nickname “Savage.” Wade and Koerner are best friends despite one being a senior and the other being a freshman, and Koerner’s nickname is “Baby Savage.”
“They’re a fun team,” Briggs said. “They get the job done and they work hard while having fun. These girls can be laughing one second and right back to work.”
Wade could’ve had huge scoring totals this year.
Instead, she’s given up a few of those opportunities for the betterment of the team.
Why? Because Mahomet-Seymour is ridiculously good when opponents don’t have to only shut down Wade to beat the Bulldogs. If they took Wade out of the game, then M-S would have a host of others who would have even better opportunities.
“Maddy Wade is a team player across the board,” Briggs said. “She will do whatever is best for the team at that moment. If somebody else has a better angle, she’s going to give them the ball. If she has the shot, she’s going to take it. I don’t think she’s thinking about herself, what’s best for me, she’s thinking about what’s best for our team.”
M-S’ season is far from over. There are four more guaranteed games left on the schedule before regional play gets underway. The Bulldogs have a great chance to break the wins record, and a deep postseason run is very much in play as well.
But Briggs has already started to think about how she’d remember this senior class. The first-year M-S coach will look back at her seven seniors fondly when it’s all said and done.
“They’re some of the hardest working girls,” Briggs said. “I hope they can instill their work ethic to the underclassmen and they can kinda following their footsteps. I don’t have any complaints about them. They all worked hard. It was a good group of girls. We’re going to miss them for sure.”