When Crystal Lake South pushed back, Prairie Ridge pushed harder.
The Gators scored twice early in the second half to cut a 2-goal halftime deficit to 1, but the Wolves answered with 3-straight goals to secure a 6-2 victory and a share of first place in the Fox Valley Conference Valley Division. Both teams finished the regular season 5-1 in the conference.
After the Gators (12-3-4 overall) trailed 2-0 at the break, Audrey Collard and Kimmy Sulikowski scored minutes apart. The Wolves' Erin Ginsberg scored in between, so the Gators trailed 3-2.
But just 4 minutes after Sulikowski's goal, on which Collard assisted, Megan Walsh scored the first of her 2 second-half goals to give the Wolves some breathing room. Larissa Dooley scored her second goal of the game and Walsh scored again to nail down the win.
"We didn't come to play in the first half and things got away from us," said South coach Jay Mueller. "Give credit to PR, they wanted a piece of the conference championship and they came and took it away from us."
With time running out in the first half, South's Jenna Ross collided with a Prairie Ridge player and crumpled to the turf. Play was stopped while she was taken off the field on a stretcher. She was able to move her extremities.
Inspired by Ross, the Gators came out with more intensity after halftime, but the Wolves just wouldn't let them come all the way back.
"We came out with a game plan," said PR coach JC Brown. "We changed out alignment a little bit and its starting to click. It matched up perfectly with how they play."
Dooley put Prairie Ridge on the board early. Cassie Warton scored on a corner kick to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute.
The Gators had a couple of chances late in the first half but couldn't convert. Brandie Minogue had a shot from right in front of the net, but Wolves' goalkeeper Brooke Laibly made a punch save.