The seniors on the La Salle-Peru boys soccer team lined up along with their parents on the wet and soggy turf of Howard Fellows Stadium to be honored before Saturday's match against Chillicothe IVC.
The drizzle came down and the cold wind howled.
It wasn't exactly the most ideal conditions for a ceremony to honor the first group of seniors in the varsity sport's history at L-P.
IVC didn't help things either.
The Grey Ghosts put a damper on Senior Day, easily controlling the match from the opening kick in a 7-0 NCIC victory at La Salle-Peru.
"IVC came ready to play," La Salle-Peru head coach Eric Bjerkaas said. "They're at where we want to be. They've become ready. They're executing their plays, and they were very aggressive to start the match."
They sure were.
IVC (14-4, 6-2 in NCIC) put its first shot on goal just 58 seconds into the match, but a bar-arm save by L-P goalie Reed Leopold stopped the shot cold.
However, Leopold could not get to the next two boots by IVC junior forward Cole Wilton.
Twenty-seconds after Leopold's first save, Wilton booted a sliding kick that was initially blocked by Leopold before rolling into the goal, and then he took a pass from Grey Ghost junior midfielder Braden McIntyre for another goal and a quick 2-0 IVC lead just 4 minutes, 12 seconds into the match.
"We knew with L-P being a first-year program, there was an opportunity to put the opponent away early, and we have been talking about that," IVC head coach Patrick Sell said. "The last few weeks we have been struggling to put opponents away and had to keep winning the game, and unfortunately, we were on the losing end a couple of times."
A little more than six minutes after Wilton's second goal, McIntyre got into the scoring act by streaking past the L-P defense and putting a shot past Leopold for a 3-0 lead.
Then IVC senior midfielder Chris Olivera started his big day.
Olivera first picked off an L-P pass in the goalie box and was fouled in the box to force a penalty kick, which he drove home for a 4-0 lead.
Then at the 26:13 mark, he took a perfect cross from McIntyre for a goal and a 5-0 cushion before getting fouled in the box again at the 26:03 mark of the first half. Just like his first PK, Olivera put the shot past a diving Leopold for a 6-0 lead.
"Chris is doing a heck of a job this year. I think he is now scored 29 goals for us," Sell said of Olivero. "He's a great finisher for the last three years in conference."
Bjerkaas wasn't too happy with how the Cavaliers (0-9, 0-9) gave away some of those easy goals with fouls in the box.
"It's part of coming out sluggish. We were out of position," Bjerkaas said of the two penalty kicks. "We tried to catch up, and when you do that, you're out of position anyway so you foul. It was our fault, whether or not the call was right. We were out of position."
IVC's final goal came at the 17:37 mark of the first half, when Sameer Al-Khenaizi made a great move in the goalie box for a score.
While the Ghosts finished with 20 shots on goal with most coming in the first half, L-P only sent two shots at IVC junior goalie Blake Smith, who stopped both of them.
L-P sophomore midfielder Luis Orozco put a shot on goal with 11:12 left in the first half and had another good run with some penetration two minutes later.
L-P senior defender Matt Olivero put the other Cavalier shot on goal in the second half, which was scoreless. The Cavaliers also had a good run on offense in the first half from some work between junior midfielder Ben Hallock and senior defender Alpkan Cakici.
"Luis (Orozco) has continued to progress for us," Bjerkaas said. "He understands the game and he understands how to make the right passes and decisions there on offense. We're pleased with how he played."
Leopold stopped 13 shots in net for L-P, which now plays at Princeton on Tuesday night.
n Notes: L-P learned its postseason fate Friday from the IHSA. The Cavaliers will play their first ever regional match on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. L-P nabbed the No. 4 seed in the Class 2A Streator Regional, and it will take on the No. 1-seeded host Streator Bulldogs. "That's what we're building toward right now," Bjerkaas said of the regional. "We've faced them before. We hope to get some people back from injuries and have a good week of practice between our last match and then to get things going." â€¦ The L-P junior varsity fell to IVC 3-1 in the preliminary match. Johnny Mendez scored the lone goal for L-P on an assist from Chris Zamin.
Jim Cogdal can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 139, or at email@example.com.