GOSHEN — Northridge has emphasized scoring early in halves throughout the 2013 girls soccer season.
On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the No. 14-ranked Raiders went up 1-0 on Northern Lakes Conference foe Warsaw on a goal from senior midfielder Brianne O’Dell in the 31st minute on an assist by senior forward Lauren Blyly.
When O’Dell potted her second of three goals on the night — in the 46th minute on a pass from sophomore forward Ellie Lengacher — Northridge coach Bill Redinger felt his team really begin to take control.
Indeed, the Raiders did as they sailed to a 5-0 win. A 2-1 win by Penn earlier in the night means Northridge (16-1-2) and Penn (15-4-1) will meet in the championship on Saturday, Oct. 19. The game is slated for 7 p.m., but Goshen officials are considering moving it to earlier in the day.
“The second goal is what set the tone for us,” said Redinger. “The second one is really a big deal in a game like this. You build them back up at half, then a quick goal like that can be deflating.”
O’Dell went on to notch a hat trick with an unassisted goal in the 70th minute.
The Raiders, who bested Warsaw 3-0 during the regular season, also got an unassisted goal from senior forward Christina Juroff — off a rebound chance created by O’Dell — in the 67th minute and a goal by freshman forward Brey Baltazar, fed by senior midfielder Jaymee Bowers.
Northridge set a school record with its 15th shutout.
“Our defense realizes that offense gets all the credit, but they are not afraid to go out there and mix it up, too,” said Redinger of a core group featuring seniors Evelyn Cover, Kara Kershner and Mikaela Zook and junior Brennah Tadeo that helped the Raiders post their 15th shutout in the last 16 outings. “All of them have played their butts off.”
Warsaw (11-4-2) saw its best scoring chances produced by junior forward Brooklyn Jackson on a dangerous possession in the first half and free kick in the second half.
Penn beat South Bend St. Joseph 4-3 during the regular season and went up 2-0 on the Indians in the rematch thanks to goals by Finnish exchange student Roosa Lampinen in the 10th minute and sophomore forward Jensen Stroinski in the 31st before the Indians (16-3-1) got an unassisted tally by sophomore forward Sammy Kambol in the 57th.
“I’m very excited,” said Lampinen after the victory which gives Penn a chance at its seventh regional crown — the first since 2010. “I really want to win.”
Both Penn goals Wednesday were assisted by sophomore midfielder Kamra Solomon.
Lampinen described the assist on her goal as “a perfect through ball.”
“Roosa is a special player,” said Kingsmen coach Jeff Hart. “She has such an understanding of the game. She was constantly looking for ways to get behind the defense. Kamra Solomon is the heart and soul of our team.”
Hart wanted his team to play with intensity and it did just that.
“We were confident in our gameplan,” said Hart. “We got healthy at the end of the season.”
Hart said Penn has plenty of respect for the NIC champions.
“St. Joe has the heart of a champion,” said Hart. “They were not going to go quietly.”
Hart said his defense made a point of knowing where Kambol and senior midfielder Madison Turner — the NIC MVP and University of Maryland recruit — were at all times.
“(Penn) went hard from the opening whistle,” said St. Joseph coach Johan Kuitse. “We just weren’t as committed as they were in the first half.
“On balance, (Penn) probably deserved to win.”
Northridge and Penn played to a 2-2 tie during the regular season.
“We’ve got to match up with (Penn’s) speed. We’ve got to match up with (Penn’s) strength,” said Redinger of the championship showdown. “(Penn’s) depth is going to be a big deal.”
The Raiders are seeking their first regional title.
PENN 2, SB ST. JOSEPH 1
P — Roosa Lampinen (Kamra Solomon assist) 10th minute.
P — Jensen Stroinski (K. Solomon) 44th.
SJ — Sammy Kambol (unassisted) 57th.
Shots: Penn 10, St. Joseph 7. Goalie saves: Penn — Ashley Waite 5; St. Joseph — Catherine Edmonds 8. Corner kicks: Penn 7, St. Joseph 5.
Records: Penn 15-4-1, St. Joseph 16-3-1.
NORTHRIDGE 5, WARSAW 0
N — Brianne O’Dell (Lauren Blyly assist) 31st minute.
N — Br. O’Dell (Ellie Lengacher) 46th.
N — Christina Juroff (unassisted) 67th.
N — Br. O’Dell (unassisted) 70th.
N — Brey Baltazar (Jaymee Bowers) 75th.
Shots: Northridge 13, Warsaw 4. Goalie saves: Northridge — Julina Skow 4; Warsaw — Abby Schue 7. Corner kicks: Northridge 4, Warsaw 0.
Records: Northridge 16-1-2, Warsaw 11-4-2.
Next: Penn vs. Northridge in Goshen Regional championship at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.