WESTERN SPRINGS – Few things can deflate an upset bid like conceding an early goal.
Glenbard East fell behind Lyons Township in the third minute and never got into the game against the Lions. LT won the regional final 3-0 Saturday afternoon in Western Springs.
The Lions, the No. 2 seed in the Hinsdale Central sectional, advance to Tuesday’s sectional semifinal against No. 6 Wheaton Warrenville South, a 1-0 winner over York on Friday.
Emily Lange scored the opening goal for the Lions after collecting a rebound and finishing into an open net. Grace Nasenbenny played a ball that sent Abbie Pasquinelli on a breakaway. East goalkeeper Veronica Fairbairn stuffed Pasquinelli on the first attempt, but Lange was in the right spot to easily finish.
“I think if we could have held them off longer it could have been a much different game because I think the attitude would have been a lot more positive,” said East assistant coach Jeff Sabol. “That early goal was a big momentum shift.”
That was Pasquinelli’s last major contribution to the match. She picked up a knee injury 15 minutes into the match and didn’t return.
“She’s a big loss and I don’t think she’ll be back for Tuesday,” said LT coach Bill Lanspeary.
The Lions (15-4-2) scored shortly after Pasquinelli’s injury. Erin Fitzgerald netted in the 18th minute. Grace Salvino made it 3-0 in the 57th minute.
The No. 7 seed Rams (11-6-4) managed just one shot on goal.
“We’re proud of our girls,” Sabol said. “They fought hard, but LT is a great all-around team. They’re very deep. They won the game in the air. They won the physical battle. Nothing against our girls, we gave it our all. They just showed they’re the better team.”
LT has become that all-around team in recent games. The Lions have won eight out of eight matches.
“I feel like we’ve gotten stronger as the year’s gone on,” Lanspeary said. “Our backs have been really solid all year. We’re starting to get going offensively. We’re getting more comfortable with each other and knowing the runs we’re making. We’re definitely getting stronger.”
The only loss in LT’s recent run came at the hands of Hinsdale Central. The No. 1 seed Red Devils won the West Suburban Silver. The Lions are itching for a chance to see them in a potential sectional final.
“We really want to turn our game on,” Lange said. “Especially losing to Hinsdale in the conference championship, we really want to get to the point where we can play them again and kind of redeem ourselves.”