Staunton Brings Toppers Season To An End

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What a difference a day makes, or in the case of the Staunton girls soccer team, two days.

Two days after losing to Hillsboro 5-1 on the Toppers' senior night, the Lady Bulldogs upset the number four seed in the Carlinville Regional by a 2-1 final score to end Hillsboro's season.

Notoriously slow at the start this season, Hillsboro was able to get ahead early against the Bulldogs, scoring 13 minutes into the first half.

The score started with Tess Saathoff taking a corner kick in the Staunton zone and placing it in the corner of the penalty box to Grace Anderson. Anderson faked a shot and let the ball roll to Aubry Rupert, who took a touch and drilled a shot to the far post past the Bulldogs' keeper.

Hillsboro would have opportunities to up their lead in the first half, but weren't able to add to the deficit as the score remained 1-0 at the break.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Staunton would equalize the score, then knocked in another goal in short order, making it 2-1 just three minutes later.

The Toppers would mount an attack in hopes of coming from behind and extending their season, but Staunton, who beat Hillsboro 3-2 in the Panther Classic at the start of the season, held on to survive and advance.

The loss was a bitter pill for the nine Hillsboro seniors, who were hoping for a shot at the Toppers' second straight regional title. With a final record of 11-8-1, the class of 2019 finished their careers with 46 wins, 33 losses and one tie, by far the most victories of any class in the program's history.

Fortunately, the Toppers did have one last hurrah, the aforementioned senior night win over the Bulldogs.

Hillsboro led 3-0 at halftime, with Aubry Rupert getting a head on corner kick by Tess Saathoff to break up the shutout 20 minutes in. Rupert nearly returned the favor two minutes later, sending a corner kick Saathoff's way, with a header just missing the mark.

Lexi Lusk would net goal number two of the game, with Kelsey Holtgrave getting the assist after a nice ball by Saathoff to the right corner. Saathoff and Holtgrave would connect again moments later, with a give-and-go resulting in a goal for Saathoff and a 3-0 Hillsboro lead.

Lusk would pick up her second goal off a free kick from Rupert early in the second half. Lusk returned the favor late in the game, assisting on Rupert's second goal for the final 5-1 tally.

The win was the final one for the group of seniors, who deserve a large part of the credit for turning the program around. Hopefully, the underclassmen who saw the field this season will remember these final two games and take with them the lessons they've learned into future seasons.

May 6 at Hillsboro

Staunton 0 1 - 1

Hillsboro 3 2 - 5

Scoring: Hillsboro - Aubry Rupert (Tess Saathoff), Lexi Lusk (Kelsey Holtgrave), Tess Saathoff (Kelsey Holtgrave), Lexi Lusk (Aubry Rupert), Aubry Rupert (Lexi Lusk). Goalkeeper: Hillsboro - Abbi Jett.

May 8 at Hillsboro

Carlinville Regional Semifinal

Staunton 0 2 - 2

Hillsboro 1 0 - 1

Scoring: Hillsboro - Aubry Rupert (Tess Saathoff). Goalkeeper: Hillsboro - Abbi Jett.

Class 1A Girls Soccer

Carlinville Regional

Friday, May 3

(7) Southwestern 2, (9) North Mac 0

Tuesday, May 7

• (1) Carlinville 4, (7) Southwestern 0

Wednesday, May 8

• (6) Staunton 2, (4) Hillsboro 1

Saturday, May 11

10 a.m. - (1) Carlinville vs. (6) Staunton

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