NEW BUFFALO — Michigan Lutheran's girls soccer team controlled the game from start to finish in Saturday's Division 4 district championship against New Buffalo, despite multiple breaks for weather delays.
The Titans owned much of the possession battle throughout the game, creating scoring chances and mixing the attack in a 7-0 win over the Bison to claim the district title.
Lutheran (15-2) will play Holland Black River (8-11-1) in a regional semifinal at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Portage Northern.
Play was stopped twice because of lightning strikes in the area. One of the delays lasted over two hours.
First-year Titans coach Alyssa Trelstad said she felt her team came out a bit sluggish after the delay, but was happy to see them pick it up in the second half.
"Some of it was just reminding them to go out there and play your game," said Trelstad. "The game's not over until it's over, and you've got to keep playing."
Lutheran got off to a quick start with a goal by Ellie Primerano just four minutes into the game.
Soon after, lightning in the area forced a weather delay.
The Titans continued to pressure coming out of the half-hour break, as Evie Clare scored on a deep shot from nearly 30 yards out just three minutes after returning from the delay.
A second weather delay went into effect soon after with another lightning strike in the area, keeping the teams off the pitch for over two hours before play resumed.
Neither team got much going in the 23:52 between the delay and halftime, as Lutheran had just a single shot attempt and the Bison (5-11-2) had none.
In the second half, both teams continued the slower play before Lutheran put three goals in the net in the span of as many minutes.
"I thought we played pretty well coming out of the breaks and even into the half," said New Buffalo coach Erik Beers. "The first one they got was the free kick that deflected and then went in, and they got another one that was a deflection and in.
"Those three goals happened fast. You don't want to take anything away from them, but that kind of put us back on our heels."
Bekah Hisle sent a free kick in that deflected off a Bison player and in, and Clare and Lexi Tobias scored back-to-back goals just 23 seconds apart to move the score to 5-0.
Tobias scored another goal at 56:00, and Clare got her third goal with five minutes remaining.
Trelstad said that the Titans have the ability to score in multiple ways.
"(Primerano) and (Clare) have definitely dominated our scoring this season, but we definitely get everybody up there in the box and try to get them in the goal," she said.
"The gameplan (for Black River) is to be prepared to play as hard as we possibly can. What we've been saying since the first round is, 'if you don't play like it's your last game, it will be your last game.' We'll go out there and play as hard as we can until it's done."
Michigan Lutheran 7, New Buffalo 0
Goals — Ellie Primerano, Evie Clare 3, Bekah Hisle, Lexi Tobias 2.
Assists — Primerano, Hailey Conrad, Tobias.
Halftime — 2-0 Lutheran.
Shots — Lutheran 13, New Buffalo 1.
Saves — Allison Semenak (ML) 1, Georgia Arvanitis (NB) 3, Alex O'Leary (NB) 3.
Records — Michigan Lutheran 15-2, New Buffalo 5-11-2.