ST. JOHN | Sometimes, good teams just need a while to settle in and get the gears going on offense.
Case in point: Crown Point, which score three second-half goals to turn a 1-1 tie at halftime into a 4-1 rout of Griffith in the first semifinal game of the Lake Central girls soccer sectional. C.P. (12-5-1) will face the host Indians in Saturday's championship after an L.C. win over Hanover Central 4-0 in the nightcap.
"I thought we didn't play horrible in the first half. They calmed themselves down," Crown Point coach Chris Mikrut said. "We've just got to slow things down a little bit and play within ourselves."
Griffith wasted its biggest chance to take a lead five minutes into the second half when forward Katelyn Barta misfired on a penalty kick that ricocheted off the left goal post.
"It took a bounce for us," Mikrut said. "That's who they want taking that shot, because that's their best kid. It was a big turning point for us."
That turning point equated to a rejuvenation of Crown Point's offense, which iced the game after Sarah Rivich, Liz Henderson and Jordan Blue all scored goals within a 14-minute span.
"The second half was better," Mikrut said of his offense and defense settling in after Barta's missed penalty kick. "We cleaned things up."
The Panthers (9-6-1) lone goal came when Kristen Pospychala's laser beam gave Griffith a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the game.
Beth Rothrock's goal off a feed from Rachel Marczewski tied it up 1-1 at halftime.
In the second game, nothing went right for Hanover Central from the get-go, as Lake Central's size, speed and experience were too much for the Wildcats (12-3-1) to overcome.
After several opportunities on the net, the Indians opened the scoring on Hillary Campbell's frozen rope goal, which was the catalyst for an offensive explosion from L.C. (11-7-1).
Lauren Doreski, Campbell and Kara Polus added goals in less than four minutes to cap the scoring well before halftime.
Hanover Central goalie Bernadette Sakelaris was busy all game long, recording 19 saves.
On Saturday, L.C. will be just 12 days removed from a 1-0 victory over C.P. that closed out the regular season on Oct. 4. Indians coach Lori Smith expects the Bulldogs to come out strong, not anticipating another defensive game.
"Crown Point is always ready to bring their game up a notch or two against us," she said. "Last year when we lost to them (in the sectional) it was definitely disappointing for our girls. We have a brand new attitude, and hopefully that'll help us."