When Lakes' girls soccer team took the field Saturday, the Eagles were looking to build on a season in which they had already won the North Suburban Prairie Division championship and improved their record from last year.
Lakes couldn't handle defending state runner-up Prairie Ridge, however, as the fourth-seeded Eagles fell 4-1 in a Class 2A regional final in Lake Villa.
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No. 5 Prairie Ridge (13-6-1) will next play top-seeded Lake Forest (14-6-1) in the Grayslake North sectional semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. No. 3 St. Viator takes on No. 2 Deerfield in the other game, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Lakes finished 14-8 and will return a majority of its starters next season.
"I believe that we were underdogs," junior midfielder Maya Schmitt said. "A lot of people didn't expect us to be that good because we're so young. It turned out that we had the second least amount of losses in a season (in school history). We have just a few seniors. We'll basically have the same team back next year. We will have all this experience now and that will help us be a closer team."
"We performed well in many games this year," Lakes coach Kevin Kullby said. "All but one starter will be coming back. It bodes well for another good year. It's something that we have to take advantage of because it will be here soon enough."
Prairie Ridge scored three times during an eight-minute span in the first half in jumping out to a 3-0 lead that buried the Eagles.
Shannon Patinella knocked in a header off an Erin Ginsberg cross in the 12th minute. Megan Walsh tallied the second goal off an assist from Patinella three minutes later. Then it was Larissa Dooley finding the back of the net after a Walsh pass in the 20th minute.
"It definitely took the nervousness out of the game," Prairie Ridge coach JC Brown said of his team's quick start. "We got settled in and relaxed, but then we lost a bit of focus with our feet. We let (Lakes) kick the ball around a bit."
Schmitt got the Eagles back into the match with a relentless effort in the box. She was tripped up by a Wolves defender and then converted a penalty kick to make it 3-1 in the 34th minute.
Prairie Ridge eventually answered in the 52nd minute, as Ginsberg beat the Eagles defense and finished a shot.
"(Prairie Ridge) was more athletic and faster to the ball," Kullby said. "That plays a big role in helping them create opportunities. They scored on a couple of set pieces. At times we had some moments and got something back. Second half, we came out with a little more energy, but we ended up giving up that fourth goal."