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updated: 5/4/2013 7:13 PM

Seniors lead the way in Lake Park triumph

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By D.J. Wanberg
Daily Herald Correspondent

It was a big day for the 10 seniors on the Lake Park girls soccer team.

Senior Day began Saturday with a pregame ceremony at Krupke Field on the school's east campus followed by a postgame cookout.

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Sandwiched between that was a dominating 7-1 nonconference win over Willowbrook.

"We're playing well right now. Our communication has improved and we're playing together as a team and we're finishing our chances," said senior Megan Lindbert, who scored Lake Park's first and sixth goals.

The Lancers (12-5-1) took control just seconds into the game as Lindbert grabbed control of the ball, dribbled toward the Warriors' goal and belted a 10-yard shot into the net for a 1-0 advantage just 17 seconds into the contest.

Lake Park went on to score three more times over the next 10 minutes. Jessica Berkshire scored her first of two goals, followed by Delaney Thompson and Morgan Smith. Thompson headed the ball off an assist from Rachel Garippo.

"We have girls back this season that have healed from ACL injuries. We definitely have more offense," said Lancers coach Chris Fruehling.

The scoring resumed with 17:17 left before intermission with Berkshire's second tally and Lindbert's second goal to make it 6-0. Berkshire grabbed a rebound off a free kick from Lindbert.

Willowbrook's Melissa Rader had the Warriors' two best scoring chances in the first half, both breakaways. The first one forced Lake Park senior goalkeeper Jamie Crowley to make a diving save to stop a sure goal. The second shot went just wide.

Rader converted on another chance with 15:36 left in the game to break the shutout. She headed a corner kick from Tiffany Brinkman.

"She's persistent and stays after it until something good happens," said assistant coach Peter Montgomery, running the team in place of coach Victor Marquez, who was attending his son's college graduation.

Crowley, who started the first half in goal for the Lancers, moved up front in the second half and battled tough right in front of the net and made good on her team's seventh goal with just more than 12 minutes to play.

Starting Warriors goalkeeper Alexis Jones made 12 saves.

Willowbrook finishes the regular season Tuesday at Morton and opens postseason play May 15 in the Class 3A Downers Grove South regional. The Warriors are seeded 12th in the Hinsdale Central sectional and face the fifth-seeded regional hosts.

Montgomery believes Willowbrook will learn from Saturday as it prepares for the postseason.

"We made some adjustments at halftime and were quite successful with them. We were more solid on defense and still doing some attacking," he said.

Meanwhile, Lake Park closes the regular season with trips to East Aurora on Monday and Elgin on Tuesday before playing host to its own Class 3A regional. The Lancers, seeded sixth in the Hoffman Estates sectional, open postseason play May 14 against 10th-seeded Glenbard North.

"We're very excited. With these last two games, we'll have the mentality of getting ready for the postseason. There are some things we needed to work on and focus on what we can do," Fruehling said.

That will come in time. Saturday, it was about the seniors.

"This means a lot having been on varsity for four years. It means a whole lot to have this (day). It was a good day," Lindbert said.

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