Lake Park ended its own tournament on a high note Thursday afternoon.
Three goals from Megan Lindbert put Glenbard South down and out for good in a 3-1 victory in the finale of the Lancers Early Bird Invite at Olympic Park in Schaumburg.
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The hosts finished the tournament 1-1-1, good enough for third place, while putting a smile on the face of coach Chris Fruehling as well.
"This was a very good week of competition for us, and it's always great to end with a victory to get us going in a positive direction for next week," said Fruehling, whose Lancers (3-1-1) have a match at South Elgin on Monday, before welcoming Mundelein, then Metea Valley on Thursday.
The Lancers were noticeably inclined to pursue the direct route to goal in the early stages of a frantic first quarter-hour as a succession of long passes from beyond midfield tested whether Glenbard South could defend such an attack.
However, the Raiders (0-3-0) appeared up to the task, turning most of the first 20 minutes into a game between the 18s. Glenbard South had the best scoring chance of the two sides when talented senior striker Danielle Pitaro put a quality shot on frame, forcing keeper Rebecca Thorne to make a save.
"We played hard in the first half, and although we went into the break with a 1-0 advantage, I didn't think we played especially well," Fruehling said.
Lindbert, one of five players who suffered ACL injuries last year, ran onto an uncontested ball inside the box and fired a well-paced left-footer from a tough angle past Raiders goalkeeper Dana Jourdan to put her club ahead at 26 minutes.
"It's feel good to be out there and 100 percent healthy, and I feel if we can stay (healthy) this season, (we) can have a very good season," said Lindbert, who scored two against Batavia on Tuesday in a 2-2 draw.
The affable Lancers captain was pushed up top after the break alongside Lexi Ruffalo, with Jessica Berkshire taking on the role as creator left by Lindbert, and it wasn't long before Lake Park dominated the run of play.
But the Raiders made something out of nothing, and when Nicole Schutte collected a throw-in front of the Glenbard South bench -- and drove her shot just inside the near post -- it was suddenly an even match at 53 minutes.
The setback did not knock Lake Park out of its stride, however, and the Lancers were soon back in front when a persistent Rachel Garrippo worked her magic to set up Lindbert, who rammed the ball in from close range under Jourdan.
"We worked so hard to get even, but the momentum we build from (that) quickly went away, and Lake Park just took control of the match after going ahead," said Raiders coach Glen Eggert, who has scheduled several matches against Class 3A clubs with the hope it will prepare his Class 2A club for the postseason.
"We're the classic little engine that (could) -- but we just need to believe that we can."
Lindbert had two chances in close-on headers with the help of a couple of wonderful serves from Jacey Kent, but just moments from full time the senior finally completed her hat trick to put some icing on the Lancers victory.
"We possessed and moved the ball around so much better and did a lot of good things in the second half, especially compared to our first half of play," Lindbert said.