Leading No. 16 seed Thornwood Co-op just 1-0 at halftime Tuesday, Lincoln-Way North coach Mike Murphy made sure his team knew that even though it was the top seed, nothing was guaranteed.
“I think the first half was a bit of a wakeup call for us,” Murphy said. “They had a couple of chances to score on us and it was only 1-0. I told the seniors they might want to talk to the other girls and they did. We just said, ‘Do you want the season to end (Tuesday)?’ None of them did.”
While the seniors gave the pep talk, it was a freshman, Bianca Galassini, who played a big part in the team’s second-half surge.
Galassini scored two of North’s second-half goals as the Phoenix made sure there would be no monumental upset, pulling away for a 4-0 win in a Class 3A Lincoln-Way North Regional semifinal in Frankfort.
Bethany Dombkowski made a pair of saves to record her 12th shutout and the 13th of the season for North (18-3-1).
The second game, between No. 8 seed Bloom and No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor, was postponed because of lightning. The game was scoreless with 17:13 left in the first half and is scheduled to be resumed from that point at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
In the opener, the Phoenix finally could breathe a bit easier when Galassini headed home a Lexi Cesario cross in the 52nd minute to make it 2-0.
Cesario charged ahead from her position as center defender to helped spark the offense. She added a goal of her own moments later.
“It was a really pretty good on the header for the second goal,” Murphy said. “Then Lexi’s was a bomb. All three of the goals (in the second half) were really nice goals. In the second half, we just had to settle down. We did a good job possessing and switching the field and making some nice, deep crosses.”
Rachel Pappas had the first goal for North. Itzel Banuelos made three saves for Thornwood (2-14).
“I have to give Thornwood a lot of credit,” Murphy said. “They’re probably one of the most improved teams I’ve seen over the last two years.
“It’s the playoffs. No game should be easy.”