PORTAGE | Ashton Balch wasted little time maintaining her postseason hot streak Saturday.
The Chesterton senior forward scored just 3 minutes, 31 seconds into the Portage Sectional championship and followed with another first-half goal to help the No. 13-ranked Trojans over Michigan City 7-0.
This is the ninth crown for the program and third since 2007. Chesterton (18-1-1) meets Valparaiso (13-4-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Portage Regional.
Balch scored twice in all three postseason games, and she added two assists.
"It's just the feeling of the postseason," said Balch, who has 18 total goals. "Any game could be your last game, and you want to make a name for yourself."
Balch received a pass from teammate Tori Schroeder and lined a shot in the left corner of the net.
Balch scored again at 32:37. Moments before a sliding tackle sent her to the turf, Angelica Jeka fed a through ball to Balch. Balch settled to the middle of the field and fired a laser over the head of Michigan City goalie Elizabeth Carpenter.
She added an assist on Nicole Kollar's goal at 38:14 to give the Trojans a 4-0 halftime lead.
Balch had been bothered by an ankle injury for a portion of the season.
"She's healthy and feeling better," Chesterton coach David Galloway said of Balch. "She's been very important for us. She's got a quick release, and she's able to get the ball at the net."
The Trojans spread the wealth with their scoring. Nicole Kollar's sisters Hannah and Amanda added goals, while Bridgett Brendza and Rosie Biehl also scored.
This was the third straight championship appearance for the Wolves (7-9). Michigan City's leading scorer, Kelsey Pawloski, missed the game with a concussion. The Trojans' early onslaught also provided problems for the Wolves.
"We came out and wanted to play a lot of defense," said Michigan City coach Stephanie Dege, whose team lost 4-0 to Chesterton in the regular season. "Then they scored early and things changed. We also had to move people around (with Pawloski's injury) and that threw us off."