NEW LENOX – In practice Tuesday, Kim Jerantowski was finding her range on set pieces.
So when an opportunity arose for a free kick early in Wednesday's sectional semifinal against Joliet Catholic, the Lemont junior stepped forward without hesitation.
Drilling a shot from 32-yards out into the upper-left corner of the net, Jerantowski's goal with less than eight minutes gone in the match gave the Indians a lead they would never relinquish. They went on to win 3-1 .
Lemont returns to Lincoln-Way West at 11 a.m. Saturday to take on Marian Catholic in the Class 2A sectional championship.
"I really didn't think it was a foul," said Jerantowski, who earned the foul when she was taken down. "I thought I messed up my touch and she took it from me. But I got lucky with the call.
"(Coach Rick) Prangen tells either Aleksandra (Mihailovic) or me to take it and I decided to take it. I felt I could finish it off."
Soon after, Mihailovic took a corner kick and bent the ball into the net with her left foot, giving the Indians a 2-0.
Jerantowski added another goal off a direct kick early in the second half before Joliet Catholic got on the scoreboard with nine minutes remaining in the game.
"In scouting them, we thought they might struggle on set pieces," Prangen said. "The first set-piece goal was a good hit. The second one was a bit lucky though it was still a good ball. The third one, their goalie lined up behind the wall."
Despite the two-goal advantage, Prangen was not too pleased with his team's effort.
"I didn't like the fact we gave up a goal," he said. "That was a soft goal we gave up. And we did some uncharacteristic things. We had a lot of bad turnovers in the middle of the field. We have to be better if we want to progress and go forward.
"Every postseason, you are allowed one mediocre to poor game if you can get through it and hopefully this is ours."
On Saturday, Lemont will see an upstart Marian squad that is riding a wave of momentum. The Spartans (6-12-3) entered the postseason with just three victories but have run off three straight wins, including a 4-2 upset over No. 2-seed Lincoln-Way West in the regional final Saturday and a 1-0 decision over Tinley Park in the other sectional semi.
"We know that it's not going to be easy," Jerantowski. "It won't be handed to us. We have to come out ready to play every game.
"Scoring early to set the tone would be big. We have to keep up on our defense and control the ball and we don't want to give up counter-attacks on turnovers."