Girls soccer: Dixon has Senior Night to remember

Duchesses’ seniors play big role in 9-0 win over rival Sterling

Sterling’s Aiesa Urrutia and Dixon’s Maggie Van Sickle fight for the ball Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

DIXON – The Dixon Duchesses made Senior Night one to remember for their five seniors in a rivalry game against Sterling on Tuesday afternoon at A.C. Bowers Field.

Four of the five Dixon seniors scored goals, and the fifth dished four assists in a 9-0 victory over the Golden Warriors.

“We just knew it was a really special night, and that we had to put all our energy toward this game and do our best,” said senior Sydney Chesley, who had the four assists. “We all just wanted to play together and try our best, and that’s what we did. We just passed the ball, assisted each other, and scored those goals.”

It started right away for the Duchesses (11-7). Senior Kaytie Miller took a pass from classmate Hanna Lengquist and pushed a shot along the ground across the face of the goal. It just managed to catch the inside of the right goalpost and trickle into the net for a 1-0 lead only 45 seconds into the game.

“It lifts a lot of pressure off of everyone’s shoulders, because when the game starts, we always think ‘OK, we have to score.’ And when you can do that early, it helps a lot,” Miller said. “The game was super awesome, I thought. It was amazing how we all worked together and we were giving each other opportunities.”

Sophomore Carlie Cook made it 2-0 with 16:05 left before halftime, chasing down a through ball from Lengquist and knocking it into the net.

Dixon’s Carlie Cook takes a shot for the Duchesses’ second goal of the game against Sterling Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Other than that, Sterling goalkeeper Mireya Lopez was up to the challenge before the break. She made 10 saves on 13 Dixon shots on goal; fullback Olivia Turner also booted away one shot before it crossed the goal line. The Duchesses peppered the Sterling back line with 23 shots in the first half, while the Warriors managed just two; both were on frame.

Sterling (1-19-1) regrouped at halftime and came out strong to start the second half, with the energy level noticeably higher for the first several minutes.

“As a team, we always look at it as in the first half, whatever happens, happens, and the second half we always go in like it’s 0-0, a new game, a fresh start,” Lopez said. “We go out and try as hard as we can to play the best that we can. I think the energy did pick up, and we played as a team together.”

But Miller scored her second goal just three minutes into the second half for a 3-0 lead, converting a pass from Chesley to open the floodgates. Junior Maggie Van Sickle scored seven minutes later after Lopez got a hand on Chesley’s corner kick; the punchout went right to Van Sickle, who booted it in for a 4-0 lead.

Lengquist added a goal to her earlier assists with a penalty kick with 22:27 remaining; she was taken down in front of the goal and converted the shot. Sterling was forced to play with 10 players the rest of the way after a red card was handed out.

Dixon’s Hanna Lengquist plays the ball against Sterling Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Leah Kuehl became the third senior to score a goal, taking a pass from Chesley right in front of the goal and ripping a shot into the back of the net for a 6-0 lead with 21:11 left.

“I think the key was just working together, passing and connecting and making sure that we’re all in sync,” Kuehl said. “It was really nice. Most of the seniors scored a goal, Sydney made some great passes, so that was definitely a fun game.”

Sophomore Leah Stees scored twice from the right side about 10 minutes later. She chased down a loose ball and lofted it high over Lopez’s reach with 9:37 remaining; that cut the time in half to 4:45 with the seventh goal.

Stees then converted another Chesley corner kick, again from the right side, for an 8-0 lead less than two minutes later. Senior Emma Jones capped the scoring with 2:08 to play, moving up from her fullback spot and finding the ball set up in front of her with an open shot on goal for a 9-0 lead.

“My other fellow center back Emily [Smith] was saying, ‘Emma, you need to go up and score,’ but every time I’d get it past midfield, I’d think, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ Then Kamille [Prather] said, ‘Emma you’re going up,’ so I said ‘All right, I’ll do it,’” Jones said. “I just played how I knew how to play, and then I saw the ball come back my way and thought, ‘Now’s my shot!’

“I took the shot and it went in, and I was surprised it went in. I was thinking the goalie was going to get a hand on it, but she didn’t, and I was really happy. It was my second goal ever in high school, because I’m usually in the back.”

Sterling’s Lainey Block controls the ball against Dixon’s Carlie Cook Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Dixon finished with 44 shots, 31 of which were on frame. Lopez made 20 saves, and another Dixon shot hit the right post during their second-half barrage.

“It was a really hard game. There’s only much you can do when you have the other team pressuring you a lot,” Lopez said. “Me and my defense always just try the best we can, and if the goals go in, it happens. Every game is time for improvement, and we always try our hardest. You go into every game just knowing you have to put your all into it.”

All three of Sterling’s shots in the game were on goal, and Maddy McLane saved all three of them before Lengquist took over in goal for the final stretch. The Duchesses had eight corner kicks to the Warriors’ none.

“It’s a really nice way to end our last home game, with everyone working together so well. It just shows how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown as a team together,” Lengquist said. “I think this is big for us for regionals. I think this was a good game for us to figure out what works for us and what doesn’t, in order to figure out what we need to do at practices to set us up to be successful in the regional games.”

Ty Reynolds

Ty Reynolds

Ty is the Sports Editor at Sauk Valley Media, and has covered sports in the Sauk Valley for more than two decades.