Top sectional seed St. Viator routed East Suburban Catholic Conference rival Notre Dame 5-1 on Wednesday night to open its effort in the Class 2A state tournament.
Ross Randon and Nick Winter each scored a pair of goals to help the Lions advance to the Vernon Hills regional final at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Jackson Owens added a spot kick at 66 minutes to close out the scoring for St. Viator (15-3-3).
The Lions will play either the host Cougars (9-7-3) or Deerfield (5-12-4) at Rustoleum Field in Vernon Hills after the two sides complete their match which was finally suspended late Wednesday after several long weather delays.
Any worries Lions coach Mike Taylor and his staff might have had against an undermanned squad from Notre Dame (9-9-4) were quickly dispelled when the top seed stunned the Dons with three strikes in the first 17 minutes.
That forced Notre Dame to try and grind its way back into the contest.
But it became apparent on a dreadful night, the Dons would need more than luck to do so.
"We came out fairly flat but pulled ourselves out of it with a couple of quick goals, and basically did what we had to do in order to get out of these conditions and home for the night," Taylor said.
It didn't take long for the Lions' Spencer Moore to break down Notre Dame in its own end.
The junior went on a couple of enterprising runs to the near end line before playing marvelous helper into the 6-yard box to his teammate Randon, who drove a shot past sprawling keeper Robert Hill.
Hill, who had no chance on any of the 5 goals, turned away several quality chances to help keep the final goal advantage to a reasonable number.
Randon doubled the lead at 11 minutes with another close-range finish from near the penalty spot.
Winter ran freely up the right side, then turned before keeping his low drive on the floor to give the Lions a 3-goal lead at 17 minutes.
After St. Viator keeper Michael McGrath stopped a long range shot from Brett Bartes, the ThorGuard sounded and players and fans were sent for cover for the next 40-plus minutes.
Once back on the pitch, Bartes took advantage of some careless play by the Lions in their own end to help get Notre Dame a little closer just before intermission.
But after a lackluster start to the second period, the Lions carved out one good chance after another until Winter increased the lead to 4-1.
He used his height to elevate over a pair of defenders and headed the ball past Hill and well-paced serve from Ryan Henry.
As the weather grew worse, the chances for the Lions got better, and both Michael Duszynski and Owens were close to scoring, denied only by some nice work by Hill.
Taylor brought many of his starters off the field after the fifth goal, including Moore and Winter.
"Nick had a very good night, and once Spencer found his form, (they) really didn't have a way of stopping him," Taylor said.
"After those back-to-back losses to Evanston and Benet to end our regular season, we were anxious to get back to our winning ways," Moore added. "And to show our opponents that when we play our game, we can be a dangerous team."
Schaumburg 4, Proviso East 0: Kacper Wasilewski scored the first two goals as the host Saxons claimed a Class 3A regional semifinal victory.
Schaumburg hosts Larkin for a regional championship at 1 p.m. Saturday.