PORTAGE | Portage senior Carly Bermes has found a quality time to find her scoring touch.
Bermes scored twice in the host Indians' 2-0 win over LaPorte in the first round of the girls soccer sectional Tuesday night. Thirteenth-ranked Chesterton then blanked Marquette 7-0 in the nightcap. The defending champions meet the Trojans at 5 p.m. Thursday in one of two semifinal games as Michigan City and Westville meet in the other.
Bermes has scored 1/3 of her 18 season goals in her last two games as she also tallied four in the regular-season finale against Merrillville.
"My confidence is up right now," said Bermes, who scored a hat trick in a 4-0 regular-season win over the Slicers. "My teammates are sending great balls to me.
"I thought I would see more defense, but my teammates did a great job dragging defenders with them."
Portage's Lauren Zack pounced on a loose ball, dribbled into the center of the box and fed a pass to Bermes, whose left-footed shot slid off LaPorte goalie Holly Buresh's fingers and into the left corner of the net at 19:27.
Abby Hargarten sent a looping pass to an open Bermes, who corralled the ball and cozied a shot into left side of the net at 55:31.
The Indians (7-10-2) have now won their last two games.
"I think we are peaking at the right time," Portage coach Amanda Isakson said. "We weren't looking ahead, because every time out could be your last game."
Marquette goalie Rosie Wall kept things close as she could by making saves 22, including three quality stops in the opening 10 minutes.
"Her name is appropriate," Chesterton coach David Galloway said. "She is a solid wall."
Stephanie Fisher broke the tie at 11:38 off a pass from Rosie Biehl. Fisher added another goal in the second half. Ashton Balch had two goals and an assist for the Trojans (16-1-1).
"We had a difficult time finding room," Galloway said. "Our girls became patient and made some plays."
Since moving out of the Valparaiso Sectional, Portage and Chesterton have played 10 postseason games. Chesterton holds the 7-3 advantage, including 5-2 in the semifinals and has outscored Portage 19-14, 13-11 in semifinal play.
"I look at games one at a time, but our girls might have been looking ahead and had some lack of focus," Galloway said. "That focus will be there Thursday."