Girls soccer: Mortonson’s two goals provide early jolt, send Lyons past York to sectional title

Lyons junior forward Caroline Mortonson was one of only two starters who did not attend her school’s prom Friday night.

So she went to bed at 10 p.m. in order to get plenty of rest ahead of Saturday’s Class 3A Hinsdale Central sectional final, which kicked off at 9 a.m.

And the 11 seniors?

“We got home at like 12:30 last night,” defender Caroline McKenna said.

The short turnaround didn’t affect the Lions at all. Mortonson gave her team a jolt by scoring two goals in the opening seven minutes and second-seeded LT rolled to a 2-0 victory over top-seeded York at Dickinson Field.

The Lions (19-3-2) advance to face New Trier (22-2-4) at the Dominican University supersectional at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The sectional final was originally scheduled to be played Friday night, but the host school and York agreed to move the game to Saturday morning so the Lions didn’t miss prom.

The early start didn’t affect Mortonson. The Miami of Ohio recruit scored in the second and seventh minutes of the match and the Lions, who lost to York 2-1 on penalty kicks in the regular season, avenged one of their three losses.

“We already had a lot of energy because of when we lost to them in the regular season, so scoring two goals at the beginning gave us more fire,” Mortonson said. “It was such a fun game to play in so it was easy to try your hardest.”

McKenna, who anchored a defense that did not allow the Dukes (18-2-1) to get a shot off, said the late night didn’t sap her team’s energy.

“We were just so excited to play, that you got up and were ready to go,” McKenna said. “I think that it was just such an exciting game to come to that the tiredness is going to hit us later.”

Mortonson’s early strikes served as a shot of espresso.

“It just gave us that little bit we needed to get our energy all the way going,” McKenna said. “It just defeated them for a little bit and it helped us take that momentum and we just ran with it.”

Mortonson is great at running with the ball, and when she heads up the field, things can go downhill in a hurry for opponents.

“She’s been dangerous all year,” Lyons coach Bill Lanspeary said. “Sometimes she looks to play the ball off and get other players involved and create opportunities for others.

“She saw chances to go herself and she’s a good finisher, too.”

The game still had a long way to go after Mortonson’s tallies, but the Dukes were effectively finished after DePaul-bound senior forward Sophia Musial suffered a knee injury in the 10th minute and did not return.

Without Musial, the Dukes were rarely able to get the ball into the offensive third. When they did, they were met with stiff resistance.

“Coming into this game, my goal and our whole back line’s goal was to win every single ball,” McKenna said. “We have a policy back there that nothing drops, every ball hits our head and we win everything. That was our goal going in and we did it really well.”

Lanspeary agreed.

“We picked a good time to play one of our best games, that’s for sure,” Lanspeary said. “I didn’t know what to expect.

“After everything going on this week and prom last night, I was hoping we’d come out with this kind of energy but you never know, so thrilled to be able to do it. Also, very grateful to York and Hinsdale to accommodate us and make the move and let these kids get both things in.”

York coach Stevan Dobric was not surprised at the Lions’ performance.

“I never thought prom would affect any of the athletes,” Dobric said. “All these girls are top-level athletes for both programs and I know they know how to take care of themselves and they get the job done. I didn’t think anybody would be at any disadvantage.

“Bottom line from our perspective is I talked to the girls about keeping them wide and we didn’t do it for five minutes and that cost us the game. From there, it’s always hard to chase the game, so we were looking for ways to get girls forward and try to get goals but it just wasn’t happening for us today.”

But Dobric was proud of the Dukes for their performance during what he called a “phenomenal” season, which included just the fourth conference title and third sectional final appearance, and first since 2011, in program history.

“It wasn’t our best game but the girls definitely played from the heart,” Dobric said. “All the seniors showed great leadership.”

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