FREEPORT – With more than 15 minutes left in the first half, Sycamore forward Taylor Meier already was unlacing her cleats and resting up for the Spartans’ next game.
Meier powered Sycamore to a 13-0 victory over Rockford Jefferson on Tuesday during a Class 2A Freeport Regional semifinal behind her game-high five goals. She netted a hat trick within the first ten minutes.
The top-seeded Spartans advance to the championship game Friday, when they’ll play No. 5 Boylan.
“I didn’t expect to score so much. I just felt it,” Meier said. “We came out here and wanted to prep for Friday and wanted to work as a team and getting all that stuff down. We wanted to connect.”
Connecting offensively wasn’t a problem for the Spartans. Kierah Meier started the offensive showcase, scoring the first goal only three minutes in off an assist from Saydie Holland. Taylor Meier and Ella Holland combined for four goals during the next three minutes to give the Spartans a 5-0 lead with 31:10 remaining in the first half.
“We wanted to get our balls across in the front, [which has] been one of our biggest problems this year and finishing. One touch off the cross, getting most of those finishes were great for us heading into the heat of playoffs, so we can get some practice of those in real games.
Less than five minutes later, Sycamore coach David Lichamer called it a day for Taylor Meier after she netted her fifth goal.
Thanks to the added rest, Taylor Meier was able to ice her heel, which had been bothering her for two-plus weeks, she said.
“We got out here and did what we wanted – our girls stretched their legs and played,” Lichamer said.
Sycamore entered halftime with an 11-0 advantage. Lichamer was pleased with his team’s ability to convert inside the penalty box.
“We wanted to finish,” he said. “When you have opportunities, you have to put the ball away. We want to be rolling at this point, not trying to find a stride or fighting an injury or anything else. When you’re put in those situations, you want to make sure you can finish, and we did.
Payton Siragusa and Gwynneth Boynton each scored a goal in the second half, which was played with a 20-minute running clock.
Friday’s kickoff between Sycamore and Boylan is set for 6 p.m.
“I think we have a favorable matchup [against Boylan],” Lichamer said. “Any team can certainly win, but I think we’ll be very competitive no matter who we play. We’ll be able to stand our ground and certainly find opportunities to win the game.”
By the numbers: Freshman Lilly Horne made two saves in net for the Spartans.
Beyond the stats: Rockford Jefferson dressed 11 players with no substitutions. Sycamore used 18 players.
They said it: “We’re going to give it 100 percent every single game,” Sycamore junior Saydie Holland said. “We came out strong here; I’m proud of our team. That’s going to be our mentality every game, 100 percent every time.”