Suddenly back on track in the postseason, Buffalo Grove's girls soccer team won its second straight game, along with a second straight regional championship, on Friday night.
Top-seeded Buffalo Grove downed No. 9 Mundelein 4-0 in the Class 3A Libertyville regional final.
Contact information ( * required )
Skylar Groth, Allie Ingham, Kim Herzog and Elizabeth Chan each scored goals for the Bison. Ingham, Kelli Zickert and Sara Busse picked up assists.
Buffalo Grove (22-2-1) meets No. 5 seed Glenbrook South (20-4-1) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Mundelein sectional semifinal.
Glenbrook South overpowered Palatine 2-1 in the Warren regional championship to advance. The Titans are unbeaten in their last 16 games, having gone 15-0-1.
The Bison ended their regular season with consecutive defeats to Conant, and then Barrington in the MSL Cup. But the Bison have turned things around in a hurry in the regional.
"We're excited to move on to the sectional," Buffalo Grove coach Pat Dudle said. "There's no easy wins in the playoffs. We were just fortunate to move on."
Buffalo Grove found itself in a battle with Mundelein (13-5-3) in the first half on Friday.
The Mustangs missed a scoring opportunity in the fifth minute as Kaila Cancelli broke free and hit a shot aimed for the far post. But Bison keeper Sarah O'Connor made a diving stop and knocked it away.
"Game could've changed, certainly," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "Our game plan was we knew that Buffalo Grove was a very technical team. They make great runs and hit their target forwards.
"For us to be successful, we knew that there was a gap between the midfielders and the defense. We needed to counter-attack very well. We were able to do that early on, and we had some chances."
The Bison finally broke through in the 25th minute on play started by a throw-in. Kelli Zickert led Groth with a pass, and she beat Mustangs keeper Brooke Dennis (12 saves).
"It was a good play with all of our offense," Groth said. "We had some good small passes and I made a back door run. (Zickert) made a great pass and I put it in. It's all on perfect timing and the scoring was the easiest part."
Mundelein's defense was a big part in keeping them in the game and close in the first half. Emily Hagen, Micheala Valin, McKenna Joy, Jessica Schultz and Dennis in goal all did their part.
"We just talked a lot and worked on working together while covering each other," Hagen said. "All throughout the year, we've been working on our defense. It also helps having a great keeper (Dennis) back there."
In the second half, Buffalo Grove fined-tuned its offense, which helped them score three times and pull away from Mundelein.
"Mundelein was playing some great defense against us and they have a fantastic keeper between the pipes," said Dudle about the first half. "Second half, we were connecting our passes a lot more and had more positive movement. With our quick touches, we were able to score more goals."
Ingham scored in the 42nd minute off a low cross from Busse. Ingham assisted Herzog in the 60th minute, and Chan added a final goal in the 76th minute.
"(Buffalo Grove) is the No. 1 seed for a reason," Billittier said. "We had great season and came in here with some great confidence.
"It was a tough loss for us. We knew that we had a battle going into it. We knew that we needed a solid defensive effort, and we got one, for the most part."