South Elgin's Caitlin Lange was just happy to be out on the field, playing in a stress-free environment for once.
And it was obvious the Storm liked playing that way, which, for the most part, helped gain a 5-0 win over Streamwood in Upstate Eight crossover action at Millennium Field Tuesday.
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The Storm (11-5-2), out to its best mark in school history and seeking its first regional title next week, took care of business right out of the gate as Lange scored the de-facto game-winner 9 minutes into the match and held a 2-0 cushion after 40 minutes.
Lange, who garnered an assist along with Alyssa Shipon, was 1 of 5 different goal scorers as Missy Greco scored on a rebound from a shot by her sister, Julie Greco, while Delaney Kelleher, Corinne Hildebrandt and Ella Struwing each scored second-half goals. With the shots at a 23-6 advantage for the Storm, who have been working on switching fields and creating more opportunities on the run, the lighthearted attitude and the connections made brought a good end to South Elgin's regular season.
"It's nice to be able to play and not stress about anything, just be able to play," Lange said. "The fact that we were able to pass it around and actually move the ball, you don't have to worry."
And it's a good sign for Storm coach Tiffany Disher, who is without her star player in Savanah Uveges as the team enters the postseason as a No. 1 seed and host of its own regional.
"It was nice to finish our season off with a win going into the playoffs and see a lot of girls step up and get some scoring action coming from all over the field," said Disher, who praised Lange's effort. "Caitlin has stepped it up in the last stretch of her senior season. At the Maine West game she really stood out, and following in the York game she's really come into her own and developed some confidence at the end of the season. And that's going to put us in a good place because she can beat players one-on-one and she's got the speed and the finish."
The South Elgin defense didn't allow many opportunities for the Sabres (6-12-3), who only put 6 shots on goal. There was a moment late in the first half where Streamwood took possession in the box but nothing came of it, and it left one of the better area scorers in Tawny Carroll scoreless.
"Tawny did everything she could up top. She's just a warrior and a beast out there with her speed and her creativity but she didn't have a lot of support," Streamwood coach Matt Polovin said. "She got stopped ... we couldn't get any chances on goal. Nothing major where they had to make a lot of saves."
Jackie DeLaMora managed 1 save in the first half while Jourdan Vaulkner stopped 3 tries, but the defensive mistakes ultimately hurt Streamwood in the end.
"If we can make a little adjustment hopefully we'll see them again in the regional championship," said Polovin.