-- Around this time of year, every year, at high schools all over the country, different sports teams like to take time out and honor their graduating seniors for four years of great play and sportsmanship.
But one thing about those Senior Night celebrations is clear -- nobody does it better than the folks from .
Even under uncommon circumstances, like Wednesday night, when a rain-out and field construction at their own campus forced the Pirate girls soccer team to host its Senior Night celebration at rival Parkway North High.
It didn’t seem to matter one bit, as the seven Pirate seniors -- Kailey Utley, Mariah Null, Mindy Fitterling, Kacie Hulse, Aubrey Boulicault, Kimberly Hulse, and Mikala McGhee -- and their families still enjoyed a wonderful last night of soccer together, which included an absolutely scintillating 4-0 victory over the foils for the evening, the Wentzville Timberland Wolves.
“I know it seems awkward because we’re at Parkway North and not our own field,” Pattonville girls soccer coach Tom Iffrig said. “But this was still a special night. This is a group of special young ladies we’re celebrating tonight, and it’s just been a great night all the way around.”
And the Pirates and their fans made sure to celebrate everything great about this season and its seniors, who just last week clinched their second straight Suburban North Conference championship.
From pre-game picture time to a dynamite halftime ceremony to a tear-filled goodbye following the game, the folks from Pattonville seemed to really take pride in going the extra mile to honor their seniors.
“These girls deserve everything they get,” Iffrig said. “We weren’t at our home, but everything went just as planned. It was great.”
The evening was so great that it almost went overlooked that the Pirates did have an actual game to play.
Fortunately though, the Pirates made quick work of Timberland, scoring three times in the first half, and once late in the second, which made it a comfortable enough night that everyone could get back to celebrating of the seven Pirate seniors.
Junior Sammie Bauer got the scoring started, with her sixth goal of the season at the 24:06 mark, then less than five minutes later, freshman Megan Anth scored her seventh and eighth goals of the year, to make it 3-0 Pattonville.
Senior Kacie Hulse added her fourth goal of the year with just under nine minutes left in regulation, as Pattonville, which has relied so heavily on all-time goal-scoring champ Utley and freshman sensation Ashanti Carey for much of its goal production this year, got a big night from its role players to produce a big win.
“It’s always great to see other girls make the most of their chances,” Iffrig said. “I was really happy for Kacie (especially). She’s always asking if she can play up top, and get some more scoring chances. And you saw what happened when she got up there. She scored, and she was really excited about it.”
The victory gives Pattonville an 18-5 record this year, which easily earned the Pirates the No. 1 seed in next week’s MSHSAA Class 3 District 5 tournament at the Lou Fusz Soccer Complex in Maryland Heights.
As the tournament’s top seed, Pattonville received a first-round bye, and will face either Hazelwood Central or McCluer in the district semifinals on Tuesday, May 15.
Should the Pirates win that game, they would then advance to the district championship game, which will also be played at Lou Fusz, on Friday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m.
“We know that no matter what, we’re going to get a tough opponent,” Iffrig said. “Whether it’s Hazelwood Central or McCluer, we know it’s going to be a dogfight. In the Suburban North Conference, it always is. So we’re going to have to be ready.”
PATTONVILLE FINAL REGULAR SEASON STATS
G A Pts. GWG
Kailey Utley 23 19 65 7
Ashanti Carey 22 12 56 3
Kimberly Hulse 8 8 24 1
Megan Anth 8 6 22 0
Mikala McGhee 7 16 30 2
Erin Collier 6 5 17 2
Katie Mertz 6 2 14 0
Sammie Bauer 6 1 12 1
Aubrey Boulicault 5 11 21 0
Nikki Callahan 5 2 12 0
Kacie Hulse 4 4 12 0
Mariah Null 1 2 4 0
Hailey Womack 1 1 3 0
Mindy Fitterling 1 0 2 0
Caitlyn Murray 0 1 1 0