BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington High School girls soccer coach Craig Lee likes to look at each game early in the season as a learning experience.
It didn't take long on Monday for his Purple Raiders to learn that rival Normal Community is rather fleet of foot.
"That's the first thing the girls said at halftime. 'Man, they're fast,' " Lee said.
The Purple Raiders also found the Iron to be precise in their passing and relentless in their attack on goal as NCHS stormed to a 7-0 win in an Intercity Tournament match at Fred Carlton Field.
Unselfish and deep could be added to the equation, as well, with seven different NCHS players sharing scoring honors with one goal apiece.
Four of them — Samantha Churchey, Kaelynn McClure, Sheri Stewart and Rachel Barelka — all came off the bench to join the scoring parade as testament to the team's depth.
"I was extremely pleased," said NCHS coach Matt Chapman. "We had some kids step in who maybe haven't had as many chances this year to do some things."
Only 2:49 had elapsed in the game before NCHS got on the scoreboard with Maggie Peters centering a pass to Shannon Tomlinson for a goal on a 2-on-1 break.
The score opened the door to what would become an all-out NCHS assault on the goal.
"We had some challenges early, just to figure things out," Chapman said. "I thought that Bloomington did a nice job of staying organized defensively early on. We kind of started to solve some of the puzzle and put some combinations together to create some opportunities."
The Iron added their second goal with 25:01 remaining in the half when Grace Spader scored on a rebound.
In the midst of repeated attempts bouncing off the posts, the crossbar or being corralled or batted away by BHS goalie Grace Marcy, NCHS would cobble together four more goals in the final 12 minutes of the half to take a 6-0 lead into intermission.
Chapman called the goal that McClure scored, with an assist from Ryann Anderson, "one of the best goals I've seen this year."
Anderson had taken a pass from NCHS goalie Savannah Henson and headed down the middle of the field at full throttle. Seeing McClure streaking toward the goal down the right sideline, Anderson led her with a pass that McClure sent rocketing past Marcy.
It was one of two assists for Anderson, who would go on to add NCHS' only second half goal with her shot from 30 yards out finding the back of the net with 28:39 left in the game.
"I had a few shots already, so I just kind of wanted the perfect one," Anderson said. "It was a little frustrating, getting a lot of shots and not scoring. I saw an opportunity and I took a shot like I had the whole game and it worked out."
NCHS (4-0-1, 2-0) outshot Bloomington 25-0 and had an 11-0 advantage in corner kicks.
"(NCHS) was hard to stop all over the field," said Lee, who saw his Purple Raiders fall to 1-6 and 0-4 in the Intercity. "They're sharp and they were good today. There's a lot to learn from this game. We'll go back and look at the tape and the next time we play them we'll be better."