CROWN POINT | As focused as Sarah Rivich and the rest of her Crown Point teammates were, there wasn't a whole lot Kankakee valley could do to stop them.
Rivich scored two goals and added an assist to help the Bulldogs record a 6-1 win over the Kougars in the championship game of the Class 2A Crown Point Sectional.
"We didn't want to get over hyped," Rivich said. "We all stayed calm, possessed the ball really well and we just worked as a team."
Crown Point advances to Wednesday's Highland Regional.
Along with Rivich, Courtney Farrell, Abi Small, Amy Adams and Maddie McConell each found the net.
Rivich scored her first goal less than nine minutes into the game to ignite the offensive burners for Crown Point (14-4). About 20 minutes later, the Bulldogs found themselves ahead 3-0 after Farrell and Small found the net.
However, the defense was a big reason the Bulldogs emerged on top. While goalkeeper Kelsey Shoemaker will only be credited in the stat book for four saves, she ran out of the box countless times to intercept crossing passes and dive on balls that could have resulted in easy Kougars' goals.
"They gave us some good scares with playing some balls through," Bulldogs coach Chris Mikrut said of K.V. "Kelsey is all battered up. She saw a lot of challenges coming right on her. She was unbelievable today. She's just the toughest kid I know."
With 6:24 left before halftime, Hannah Wilder found the net to cut the score 3-1 – her 27th goal of the season.
Crown Point kept up the defensive intensity after halftime, and the Bulldogs simply kept tacking on insurance points. Rivich's second goal on a penalty kick with 37:26 remaining in the game seemed to be the dagger in the heart of the Kougars (12-6).
"We had two or three really good chances to make it 3-2 in that first half," K.V. coach John Hufnagel said. "That penalty kick really turned the game."