CROWN POINT | Kankakee Valley's Hannah Wilder was a little too eager on a second-half penalty kick against Crown Point.
She took the kick before the referee signaled that both players were prepared, and it showed her tell.
Though Crown Point goalie Meghan Morasan said she was prepared for a change in attack on the second try, it went to nearly the same spot to Morasan's left, and the junior made the stop.
It was one of seven saves for Morasan, and the biggest in a 2-1 victory Saturday that gave the Bulldogs their third consecutive sectional title.
"At first I was freaked out because she was just taking it and the ref didn't blow the whistle, so she gave her spot away," Morasan said. "I still had to make sure I played it fair, because she could have switched it. We already had the lead and I was going to do whatever I could to keep that lead. I wasn't going to let them capitalize on our mistake."
"We've been on (Morasan) a lot to be aggressive and take command of her box, and the last three halves I really feel she's done that," Crown Point coach Chris Mikrut said. "You need a good keeper in high school soccer and both of these keepers were excellent."
The Bulldogs (12-5-1) took a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the first half. With the wind at their backs, the 'Dogs peppered Kankakee Valley goalie Mackenzie Demars and took advantage of stoppages in play.
Both C.P. goals came with the ball stopped: the first, an unassisted free kick by Lauren O'Keefe at 14:35 and the second on a penalty kick by Jenna Arnold at 19:55.
"This game was going to come down to opportunities, and something like 80 percent of playoff games are won on dead balls, and all goals today were dead balls," Mikrut said. "That's such an important part of the game and we really worked with Lauren O'Keefe on that, and she just drilled one."
The Kougars (14-2-1), whose only other loss this season came to Crown Point, scored on a free kick by Alyssa Cox that was redirected into the net by Hannah Wilder with 8:55 remaining in the first half.
Given the opportunity to pick offensive ends, Crown Point started with the wind at its back, hoping it would diminish after halftime. Instead, it ramped up, and Kankakee Valley had the benefit of a 25-mile-per-hour wind in the second half as a storm rolled in.
The teams avoided the rain, and Kankakee Valley had to battle instead an extra defender as the Bulldogs changed their defense and took fewer shots on goal while hoping only to maintain the lead.
"We like playing with speed up top and we have a lot of speed up there," Kankakee Valley coach Alex Conklin said. "Plus, we needed to reverse the field, and we did a much better job in the second half reversing the field to our weak spot, trying to change it up a little bit and use some different things. We just couldn't put another one in."
K.V. goalie Demars made six stops, including three in the first half and all three she faced in the second half.
A physical game, Crown Point took 13 free kicks to K.V.'s 10.
The Bulldogs lost O'Keefe with 3:09 left in the first half after the junior fell at midfield and hit her head on the ground. She lay for several minutes, and was helped off the field. She was immediately taken home and could miss the Class 2A Valparaiso Regional semifinal Wednesday against Hammond.
"They've got six different girls that can put the ball in the net at any time," Conklin said.