Girls soccer: Buffalo Grove downs Highland Park
No. 9 seed Buffalo Grove hit 3 second-half goals to break open a tight girls soccer regional semifinal contest and defeat No. 8 Highland Park 5-2 Wednesday in Lincolnshire.
The win sends the Bison (6-7-4) into the Stevenson regional final Friday against top-seeded Stevenson (19-1-2) at 6 p.m.
"It was nice to get an early goal, and to go out and score some goals to give us the momentum we needed to get into the regional final," said sophomore Quinlan Libit, who gave the Bison a lead in the sixth minute with a quality finish at the back post of a Pam Bolis helper.
Katherine Ohlweing would equalize in the 19th minute, but Macy Floro pulled one back near the half-hour to give BG a lead it would never relinquish.
"We knew (Highland Park) played a very aggressive offsides trap, so our game plan was to target both Pam and Macy up top and have them use their speed, hopefully beating the trap to get some good looks on frame," said BG coach Pat Dudle.
The other tactical plan that Dudle and his staff devised was to man-mark the Giants' (5-10-0) talented center-midfieidler Jolie Carl, who when given space and time, could dictate play with her distribution and high end attacking ability.
"We saw (HP) play Evanston recently, and number 11 (Carl) was the player who was a fantastic passer, who took apart the Evanston defense so we knew we had to do something about her," added Dudle.
The Bison would commit to defending Carl whenever she had a touch, and the duo of Kayla Weede and Claire Reynolds took turns doing so and with fresh legs when Dudle brought one on for the other.
With Carl held in check, the Giants' attack would sputter while for the Bison it was quite the opposite.
Tess Vasilakos took advantage of some careless play along the Giants' back line, and when the senior made them pay for it, it became 3-1 in the 47th minute.
Sarah Stahlberger's goal three minutes later brought the Giants within one until the speed of Bolis helped pry open the HP back line within moments of the Stahlberger strike.
"Sarah has been a big-play, big-goal player for us all four years, and for her to go out with a world-class goal like that could not have been a better ending to a terrific career for us," said HP head coach Kate Straka. "We stayed close because of a couple of great goals, but it was their team speed, and physical play that eventually did us in to end our season for good."
Bolis' first goal came after an initial point-blank save on a Leah Limber blast sat freely in the box for the sophomore to finish, and her second was all made possible with a glorious early ball from Rachel LeFrance.
"It was a nice win for us, but we'll have to come out ready to play from the opening whistle and bring as much energy and heart that we can to compete with a very good Stevenson team," said Dudle after his club scored its season-high 5 goals.