Scoring twice, Ava Peterson makes her final home game memorable for Lincoln-Way West. ‘She’s literally an icon.’

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

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

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

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

Tigchelaar and Kate Kinsella added a goal apiece for Lincoln-Way West (9-10), which also scored via a Sandburg own goal. Cora Franczyk made two saves to record the shutout.

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

Peterson, who increased her season total to 23 goals, was a bit blown away to hear Tigchelaar refer to her as an icon.

“I’m feeling pretty great right now,” Peterson said. “I didn’t know that. You learn something new every day.”

Peterson recently was announced as a winner of Lincoln-Way West’s Ultimate Warrior award, which is presented each year to one senior female athlete and one senior male athlete “that exemplifies and lives by the Warrior code: wisdom, honor, courage and respect.”

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

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

Peterson is finishing off a family tradition of playing soccer at Lincoln-Way West, following her older sisters Abby and Alyssa.

“When my sisters played, I was like in seventh grade and at every single game,” Peterson said. “I always looked up to playing on the high school team. I thought it 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 these last games and cherish them.”

Peterson is set to reunite with her sister, Alyssa, on the soccer team at Wisconsin-Platteville.

“It just happened that it was the school that was the right for me, and getting to play with her makes it even better,” Peterson said. “My older sisters played soccer first, and I just followed what they did. We’d play in the yard, and they were always some of my biggest competitors.”

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

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

Tigchelaar said Peterson has given her plenty of tips as she kicks off her varsity career.

“She’s so fast and she can just get to everything,” Tigchelaar said. “Having her direct me on the field just helps so much. I love her. She’s awesome.”

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

“Last year, it didn’t matter if I had a captain’s armband on 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 if they need direction out there, I’m not afraid to do it. They know it comes from a place of love.”

Peterson is hoping her Lincoln-Way West career still has several more games left.

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

“We need to get that regional championship,” Peterson said. “That’s really important to me.”