HIGHLAND | Brianna Dougherty may not have been the most likely hero for Lake Central. She didn't even start Thursday night.
But the junior forward scored two goals for the Indians as L.C. topped Griffith 3-1 to advance to the Class 2A Highland Sectional final on Saturday.
"I was nervous when I went in, but when it came down to it I was just (thinking), 'in the net, in the net, get it in the net,'" Dougherty said.
The Indians will take on Munster in the championship. The Mustangs beat host Highland 2-0 in the second game.
The Panthers (8-4-1) tallied the first goal at 35:30, when freshman Megan Miller was in the right place to rebound Lauren Hernandez's shot off the post.
Dougherty evened the match with a score in the 44th minute for L.C. (7-7-1).
Madison Berumen was awarded a penalty kick six minutes later and the sophomore forward beat Griffith keeper Amy Bubala to the left side to give the Indians a 2-1 lead. Dougherty sealed it with another goal at 73:22 on a follow of her own shot that skipped just over Bubala's fingertips.
"I hit it with my head and, honest to God, I though (Bubala) was going to catch it but when it went over her I just kept going," Dougherty said. "I just got my chest on it and hit it in."
Griffith coach Wally Kudyba said his team's lack of depth was an issue.
"We have so many hurt players, ankles taped up, all banged up. We just barely moved out there," Kudyba said. "I can look forward to next year (because) the foundation is now built and we can start building off that."
Munster (13-2-3) advanced through host Highland on Allyson Goodrich's goal in the 50th minute.
"It took a while. We took a lot of shots from outside in the first half and one of our conversations at halftime was to start working the ball in," Mustangs coach Val Pflum said. "We got lucky. We kept knocking."
Lexie Lyons added a goal off Alyssa Wojcik's corner kick at 67:16.
The Trojans (8-8) had extra players in the back for most of the game. That, combined with Kelli Lee's 15 saves, allowed Highland to keep it close.
"I started a lot seniors because they're such a good group of kids," Highland coach Gordon Walker said. "It was a joy to coach them. I was really proud of the way they played and the effort they put into it."