The final night of the regular season was a memorable one for the Hannibal girls’ soccer team. Not only did the Lady Pirates honor their senior players before the game, but Hannibal extended or set several new records during the Lady Pirates 8-0 victory over Southern Boone.
“(This season) has been phenominal,” Hannibal senior Theresa Sheffer said. “It has been an amazing season. To be with these girls, it has meant a lot. They are the best team that I could have and that I could ask for. Just being able to experience all of this with them, it is just nice.”
Among the records the Lady Pirates set were extending the team record for most wins (18) in a season and extending the team record for most shutouts (16) in a season. Goal keeper Kaitlyn Edge extended her record for most shutouts by a goal keeper (15.5).
“We are still the same team from when we started out,” Sheffer said. “We are a hard working, dedicated team.”
But by far, the most impressive record of the night was Sheffer breaking the Hannibal record for most goals in a season.
“It was just really exciting,” Sheffer said. “Just coming out and playing with my classmates. It was just a good experience for all of us and it was exciting to end it at home with a bang.”
Entering play, Sheffer had 28 goals (in 22 games) on the season. She needed three goals to tie the record and four to break it.
Hannibal coach Eric Hill knew Sheffer was capable of getting the record, but was unsure if she would actually get it on senior night.
“We knew that she was capable of it,” Hill said. “She has had a hat trick obviously this season, a couple of them. We thought there was a chance of it, but we knew we had tonight and whatever we have left to play in postseason. But it was nice to go ahead and get it tonight with it being senior night and her being a senior made it extra special as well.”
It was apparent very quickly that Sheffer was going to get the record Wednesday night. Just over five minutes into the game, Sheffer gave Hannibal a 1-0 lead. Then, just three minutes later, Sheffer broke away from a defender and scored again.
With two goals in the opening 10 minutes, the crowd could be heard chanting “two more goals”.
The crowd didn’t have to wait too long as Sheffer tied the school record of 31 goals in a season in the 16th minute when she took a corner kick from Catherine Allen and used her head to knock the ball into the net.
Just 16 minutes into the game, Sheffer had already recorded a hat trick.
After scoring the first three goals, four times in the first half Sheffer had a breakaway chance for the record goal, only to be called for being offsides.
“That has happened with us a lot this year,” Hill said. “Theresa really gets us going and it seems like after that, the other team focuses in on her. Then that is where we are able to show that we have more scoring punch than just one person.”
Sheffer would have to wait for the record breaker, but Hannibal did manage two more goals in the first half.
“When the other team starts to focus on Theresa, it really opens things up for the other girls like Raylynn (Charlton) and Bri (Johnson),” Hill said. “(Johnson) made a couple of really nice runs down the right side tonight.”
Raylynn Charlton gave the Lady Pirates a 4-0 lead when she scored with 20:48 remaining in the first half.
“Raylynn’s goal was real nice,” Hill said. “She had a few opportunities on a couple of others and the goalie made a heck of a save here at the end of the game.”
Ten minutes later, Bri Johnson joined the scoring parade with a goal of her own.
Hannibal went into the halftime break leading 5-0.
When play resumed in the second half, Sheffer went back to work. Of course, one of the first things that happened, was another offsides call on Sheffer.
“I just had to keep trying hard,” Sheffer said. “We worked as a team and my hard work paid off.”
“We had a lot more offsides than we normally do,” Hill said. “Those things are frustrating. We just need to adapt and adjust our runs when that is going on. They were definitely stepping on just about everything and when that happens we have just got to have our forwards start making runs back, checking two or making runs across the field as opposed to a couple times where it looked like we were set and ready to start a sprint in a track meet.”
Finally, with just under three minutes into the second half, Sheffer got the record. She set the single season scoring record when she again used her head to knock the ball into Southern Boone’s net.
The Lady Eagles’ Elora Bosset tried to stop the ball, but failed.
“It wasn’t the prettiest,” Hill said. “But it is kind of also a little bit of what she has done for us here. It was a hustle goal. It was her seeing that she had a chance to get there and get a piece of it and get it directed towards the goal and her hustle really paid off.”
The Lady Pirates then huddled in front of the goal and congratulated their teammate on her accomplishment.
“It was just really exciting,” Sheffer said. “Having my team there to share it with me, it was a good experience.”
On the sidelines, Hill pulled the game ball out of play.
“She gets to take that ball home with her,” Hill said. “It is going to be hers. Just as a little gesture, she gets to keep that as that’s the one she scored the record breaking goal with.”
But Sheffer wasn’t done. With 20:22 left in the game, Sheffer added a fifth goal to put Hannibal up 7-0.
The Lady Pirates got one final goal with just under 2:30 minutes left in the game. This time the goal was scored by Johnson, her second of the game.
“Bri was timing hers correctly,” Hill said. “She was getting in as they (Southern Boone) were stepping forward, her speed and the way she timed it, it worked out perfect for us.”
All five Hannibal seniors started the game. Catherine Allen, Katie Bowman, Alex Nichols, Sheffer, and Carli Watson. For Watson, she has been out with an injury and even though she is on crutches, she was able to start the game before being removed for a substitute.
“The seniors came out and they all got to get a start tonight,” Hill said. “Even the little bit of an extra getting Carli (Watson) out there, even though we had to get her off early. The seniors played well. Alex, Katie, and Catherine all played well in the back and Theresa went on a scoring rampage tonight it seemed like.”
Hannibal will be back out on the field Tuesday when the Lady Pirates take on the winner of the Monday’s Mexico/Marshall matchup in the District Tournament at Moberly.