CROWN POINT | A pair of first-half goals were enough to put the game out of reach for Times No. 1 Crown Point in its 5-0 win over No. 4 Kankakee Valley in the sectional opener Thursday.
"I like the way the girls came out; they're not going to take anybody lightly," Bulldog coach Chris Mikrut said. "They definitely have a goal in mind and this is how it's been all year with this team."
Sarah Rivich scored her 14th goal of the season to put C.P. up 1-0 at 11:08. Her shot deflected off of a Kougars defenders and took two bounces before ending up in the back of the net.
K.V. (8-7-2) put on some pressure in the 26th minute but offsides was called before the Kougars could notch a score. The Kougars didn't register a shot in the first half.
"I think we did what we wanted to do," Mikrut said. "They have a solid player up front in (Haliegh Wenglarz) that can get behind you and score goals. So, to get a shutout on them is a big deal for us."
Crown Point (15-3) broke Kankakee Valley's back at 35:33 when Rachel Marczewski popped a 35-yard shot over the Kougars defense. The ball one-hopped goalie Mackenzie Demars and slid into the left side of the goal.
"I just cut it back and I saw a quick little opening and took a rip," Marczewski said. "It wasn't the best hit, but it works."
The goal was a significant one.
"That's a nil-nil game at the half, or it should be," K.V. coach John Hufnagel said. "We pressed in the second half and said, 'Let's get back in this.' We had two really just chances within a whisker and it was that close to being a ball game again."
The Bulldogs scored a third time in the 43rd minute when Malorie Henderlong put Marczewski's cross by Demars. Katrina Ornelas got her goal in the 50th minute and Ashley Matthews tallied a rebound score at 56:56.
Crown Point sophomore keeper Meghan Morasan tied a school record with her 10th shutout of the season.
"Going into the postseason, I think we're pretty confident," Marczewski said. "We know we've got a good shot at making a nice long run."
Merrillville also advanced with 2-1 win over Lowell in the nightcap. Lacey Richards rifled a shot from the right side at 74:51 to seal the victory for the Pirates. Merrillville and Crown Point will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday for the title.
Brittney Brack scored a goal for Merrillville in the eighth minute.
Haley Farmer tied the game in 63rd for Lowell when she won a 50/50 ball with Pirate keeper Meagan Clarkson. Farmer pushed a soft shot into the net.