VALPARAISO | It wasn't exactly Crown Point's typical path to victory, but girls soccer coach Chris Mikrut will take it.
The Bulldogs survived Munster 3-2 in overtime Wednesday night in the opening game of the Class 2A Valparaiso Regional, overcoming a 2-0 halftime deficit. C.P. will face Valparaiso, a 2-0 winner over Lake Central in the nightcap, in Saturday's championship.
"My assistant said at halftime that (trailing) wasn't a bad place to be," Mikrut said. "We had to come back and fight. We haven't had a game where we've had to come back, but the girls worked hard in the second half."
C.P. freshman Anna Eksten tallied the game-winner -- her second goal of the night -- off an assist from senior Rachel Marczewski with 2:25 remaining in the first extra period. The speedy Eksten beat Munster keeper Parin Patel to a slow-rolling ball just inside the box.
It capped a tremendous comeback, as the Bulldogs (17-3) seemed more inspired coming out of the halftime break.
"I really don't think our heads were into the game as we usually are," said C.P. senior Sarah Rivich, who scored the tying goal with 13:46 remaining in regulation. "But then we realized this could be our last 40 minutes of play, so everybody brought it in the second half."
Munster opened its 2-0 lead during a five-minute period late in the first half with goals by sophomore Cayla Bales and junior Allyson Goodrich.
C.P. started its comeback when Eksten scored following a corner kick that was punched out by Patel, just 2:39 into the second half. Patel made two brilliant saves later in the game for Munster (17-4) before Rivich's equalizer.
"(Patel) knows she's more effective stopping the ball going for the punch," Munster coach Val Pflum said. "She did what we've been working on for the most part.
"We had a successful season, winning our sectional and the conference in the same season for the first time. We wanted to come in and win regionals, obviously, but unfortunately it didn't work out that way."
In the second game, Valparaiso's Lauren Reineke scored both goals as the Vikings (15-3-1) beat Lake Central (12-7) for the second time this season.
Reineke's first goal came just 10 1/2 minutes into the game off an assist from senior Andrea Violanti.
"At tournament time, any goal at any moment is good but it was definitely nice to get one early in the game," Valpo coach Rob Cespedes said.
Reineke added her second goal early in the second half off a feed from senior Kaylee Pullins with 32:41 remaining.
"Defensively we have a very strong crew," Cespedes said. "They play well together and know how to contain."
The championship match against Crown Point will be a rematch of last year's regional final, which the Bulldogs won in overtime. Valpo also lost to C.P. during the regular season.