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MX News Update 2024

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Ava Peterson, Lincoln-Way West Stymie Sandburg

Over a four-year varsity career, senior forward Ava Peterson made quite the mark on the Lincoln-Way West girls soccer program.

If you want to know how big the impact is, just ask junior forward Emily Tigchelaar.

“She is literally an icon,” Tigchelaar said of Peterson.

The Wisconsin-Platteville recruit made her final home game a memorable one Wednesday by scoring twice to lift the Warriors to a 5-0 victory over Sandburg in a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover game in New Lenox.

Tigchelaar and Kate Kinsella each scored a goal for Lincoln-Way West (9-10), which also scored via an own goal by Sandburg. Cora Franczyk made two saves and recorded the shutout.

Yasmeen Rayan made seven saves for the Eagles (4-12-4).

Peterson, who increased her season total to 23 goals, was a little overwhelmed when she heard Tigchelaar call her an icon.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Peterson said. “I did not know that. You learn something new every day.”

Lincoln-Way West's Ava Peterson (2) and Sandburg's Saja Mazoni (11) go up after the ball during a Southwest Suburban Conference game on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in New Lenox, IL.  (Steve Johnston/Daily Southtown)
Lincoln-Way West’s Ava Peterson (2) and Sandburg’s Saja Mazoni (11) go up after the ball during a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover game in New Lenox on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Steve Johnston / Daily Southtown)

Peterson was recently announced as the winner of Lincoln-Way West’s Ultimate Warrior award, presented each year to a senior female athlete and a senior male athlete “who exemplifies and lives by the Warrior Code: Wisdom, Honor, courage and respect.”

Lincoln-Way West coach Joe Stephens said it was certainly a worthy honor for Peterson.

“All the coaches at the school vote on that, and for her to get that award just shows her character both on and off the field,” he said. “To hear a younger player say she is an icon, it paints the picture perfectly. It is awesome.”

Peterson is completing a family tradition of playing football at Lincoln-Way West, following in the footsteps of her older sisters Abby and Alyssa.

“When my sisters played, I was in seventh grade and at every game,” Peterson said. “I’ve always dreaded playing on the high school team. I thought this would be the coolest thing ever.

“Now I’m here, and I just can’t believe it’s almost over. I’m just going to hold on to and cherish these last matches.”

Emliy Tigchelaar (31) {center} of Lincoln-Way West receives congratulations from teammates after scoring a goal against Sandburg to give the Warriors an early lead during a Southwest Suburban Conference game on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in New Lenox, Illinois .  (Steve Johnston/Daily Southtown)
Lincoln-Way West’s Emliy Tigchelaar, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against Sandburg during a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover game in New Lenox on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Steve Johnston / Daily Southtown)

Peterson will reunite with her sister, Alyssa, on the Wisconsin-Platteville football team.

“It just happened that this was the school that was right for me, and playing with her makes it even better,” Peterson said. “My older sisters played football first, and I just followed what they did. We played in the yard and they were always one of my biggest competitors.”

Tigchelaar, who split time between the junior varsity and varsity teams this season, opened the scoring on Wednesday by finding the net from 20 yards out in the 15th minute.

“It was pretty awesome,” Tigchelaar said. “I’m so nervous going into every competition because I don’t want to mess it up, but that felt great.”

Lincoln-Way West's Ava Peterson (2) takes a shot on goal against Sandburg during a Southwest Suburban Conference game on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 in New Lenox, IL.  (Steve Johnston/Daily Southtown)
Lincoln-Way West’s Ava Peterson (2) takes a shot on goal against Sandburg during a SouthWest Suburban Conference crossover game in New Lenox on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Steve Johnston / Daily Southtown)

Tigchelaar said Peterson has given her many tips as she begins her varsity career.

“She is so fast and she can reach everything,” Tigchelaar said. “It helps a lot that she leads me on the field. I love her. She’s great.”

Giving tips to her teammates is something Peterson has never been shy about.

“Last year it didn’t matter whether I had a captain’s armband or not. “I was going to be the loudest player on the field,” she said. “That’s just how I am. I love the game and I love my teammates, so when they need guidance, I’m not afraid to do it. They know it comes from love.”

Peterson hopes she still has a few games left in her Lincoln-Way West career.

The Warriors are seeded fifth in the Class 3A Joliet Central Sectional and open the playoffs against 12th-seeded Bloom in a Homewood-Flossmoor regional semifinal Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“We have to get that regional championship,” Peterson said. “That is very important to me.”