St. Viator and Vernon Hills started out their girls soccer postseasons with victories in opening-round games of the Class 2A state tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
Fourth-seeded St. Viator shut out No. 13 Amundsen 8-0 in the first semifinal, and No. 5 Vernon Hills picked up a forfeit win over No. 12 Mather in the other semifinal in Amundsen regional action at Chicago's Winnemac Stadium.
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St. Viator (10-7) next plays Vernon Hills (10-4-2) in the regional championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at Winnemac Stadium.
"It's a good start to the playoffs," St. Viator coach Mike Taylor said. "We started out on the right foot. You know that you're going to have easy games, and you have to get through those to get to the next games. You have to keep your focus and get playing time from a lot of people.
"Now we have to focus on the games from here on out."
Molly Ziegler led the Lions with a hat trick and also assisted on a goal. Susie Moynihan scored twice and added an assist. Chloe Luthringshausen, Megan McCollum and Claire Soch had the other St. Viator goals; Emma Henry had 2 assists, and Maria Petrillo and Micaela Lonigro had 1 assist each.
"It was exciting contributing for the team," said Ziegler, who doubled her output of goals for the season and now has 6. "We've had some troubles finishing. This was a good warm-up to finish our chances."
Vernon Hills has won or tied 12 of its last 13 games -- the only exception was a loss to Lake Zurich in the NSC title game.
While the Cougars are happy to advance, the manner in which they did so wasn't very satisfying.
"It's unfortunate to travel out there and we were unable to play," Vernon Hills coach Vince Deluca said. "Our kids were in good spirits about all of it. We'll just practice for the rest of this week to be ready for St. Viator."