ST. CLAIRSVILLE - You couldn't have scripted Senior Night any better for the St. Clairsville girls' soccer team.
Seniors accounted for all the goals in an 8-0 domination of visiting Beaver Local on a chilly Monday night on the carpet at Red Devil Stadium in the regular-season finale.
Multi-sport standout Carlee Gillespie scored half of the net-finders, while classmate Madison Keenan had a pair. Taryn Barr and Eberle Ferrell also scored goals.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Taryn Barr (16) and Beaver Local’s Alanna Ice race after the loose ball during the first half of Monday’s soccer game at Red Devil Stadium. The Lady Red Devils rolled to a victory.
"It's a perfect night," first-year St. Clairsville head coach Wes Stoner said with a smile. "I'm happy for (the seniors)."
When informed that Gillespie had reached the 70-goal mark for her career, Stoner added, "that's quite a career. That really is. She followed one great player (Jaclyn Dutton), so she's doesn't have quite that many goals, but you can't say a bad thing about her."
It didn't take the Red Devils (10-5) long to get the ball in the net as Keenan's bloop shot from the top of the box was snagged with two hands by Beaver Local goalkeeper Maranda Kiddey, but she wasn't able to hang on and Barr was in the right place at the right time to bang it home in the 5th minute. Keenan logged the assist.
Moments later, the pair reversed the scoring as Barr's left-footed shot from straight on deflected off a Beavers' player and right to Keenan who blasted it home to make it 2-0 in the sixth minute.
Beaver Local (8-4-1) didn't register a shot on goal until the 13th minute, and by that time it was already 3-0 as Keenan got her second twine-tickler off an assist by Gillespie two minutes earlier. Gillespie shifted the ball to Keenan at the top of the box and she looped the ball just over Kiddey's outstretched arms and just underneath the cross-bar.
Ferrell's laser from 25 yards out in the sailed top shelf into the right corner as the lead ballooned to 4-0 in the 17th minute off an assist by Hannah Jordan, and Gillespie finished the first-half scoring in the 26th minute as she tapped in a beautiful cross from Ferrell with a sliding right foot.
Beaver Local had its best opportunity to get the ball past senior goalkeeper Brianna Sowers in the waning moments of the first half.
The Red Devils were guilty of a hand-ball inside the box with 33.5 showing on the clock, thus giving the Beavers a penalty kick.
However, Haley Tomlinson's kick hit the cross-bar to Sowers' right and caromed harmlessy away.
Gillespie scored all three goals in the second half, two off assists by junior Michaela Miller, who seemed to be all over the field both offensively and defensively. The first came on a shot from the right wing, while the second happened after a corner kick by Ferrell was bounced around in the box. Gillespie was able to get a foot on the loose ball and pound it home.
She concluded the scoring after taking a long feed from Miller. She headed the ball toward the net, but the Beaver Local goalkeeper couldn't handle the ball as it trickled into the net.
"It was a good night for us seniors," Gillespie said. "It was pretty exciting to score four goals." She now has 18 goals this season.
On the other end of the field, Sowers was only called upon to make two saves - neither a serious scoring threat - in charting her fourth shutout of the season.
The only downside to the victory was a knee injury sustained by the fleet-footed Barr midway through the second half. She did not return, but Stoner was optimistic about her playing Monday.
"I think she'll be alright," he noted. "She and the girl from Beaver Local hit knee-to-knee."
The fourth-seeded Red Devils are back in action Monday at West Muskingum High School when they meet No. 7 Ridgewood in the opening round of the Division III tournament. St. Clairsville has defeated the Generals the last two years.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org