CROWN POINT | Something happened about midway through the second half of Times No. 4 Crown Point's 6-2 win over No. 5 Lake Central Tuesday night.
The game was tied 2-2 when Malorie Henderlong broke the tie in the 54th minute after playing pinball with three defenders in the box. Anna Eksten scored at 59:37, drilling a shot into the back of the net after crossing over a Lake Central defender.
It was only seven minutes later when Lauren O'Keefe completed her hat trick. Sophomore Jenna McCarroll finished the scoring just 24 seconds later.
"I think we just lost it for a second there, but once we regained our speed and our game, (we) started playing the way we always have played," O'Keefe said. "We just knew we had to win. We had to come back."
L.C.'s Brianna Dougherty opened the scoring on the game's — and season's — first shot at 6:37.
The junior forward broke free just past the center circle and pushed a shot to the left side of the goal, past a diving Meghan Morasan.
"I don't know what happened. We started off really strong," Lake Central coach Julie Moore said. "We just broke down and I don't think we ever regrouped."
The Bulldogs had a scoring chance deep in the box in the 19th minute, but Indians keeper Lindsay Kusbel made a diving stop to her left of Jenny Pudlo's point-blank shot.
"We definitely have some younger players and I think there were some immature mistakes that we made," Moore said. "Crown Point never stopped coming and they picked up intensity where we were scrambling to find our intensity."
O'Keefe evened things up for C.P. in the 25th minute with a rebound to the bottom left corner. O'Keefe gave the Bulldogs the lead less than four minutes later with a looping chip over Indians goalie Lindsay Kusbel from about 20 yards.
"O'Keefe had a great first half for us," Crown Point coach Chris Mikrut said. "Especially losing (Sarah) Rivich and (Rachel) Marczewski, we needed someone to step up. She stepped up and gave us those goals when we needed them."
Lake Central junior Hannah Triveline had a goal at 35:13 with a hooking shot from the left side, just outside the box, that was just out of Morasan's reach.
Indians senior Kailiegh Kramer-Stephens was carted off the pitch just before the half. Moore said Kramer-Stephens was complaining of a headache and was taken to the emergency room.