Varsity Kansas

Northwest tops stubborn North

Northwest, winner of 18 straight this season, looked to cruise past City League rival North to advance to the Class 6A semifinals on Tuesday night.

But North deviated from that script, and it wasn't until Kevin Crafton scored with 7:25 to play that the Grizzlies had some breathing room in a 4-2 quarterfinal victory at Northwest.

Northwest coach Bobby Bribiesca said the game was a far cry from the teams' regular-season meeting, a 5-0 Grizzlies triumph.

"(Coach Brent) Lewis has got the team playing well right now late in the season," he said. "To be this far, you've got to be good.

"I thought they came out with a little more heart than we did. In the second half, once we hit that (Crafton's) goal, I felt that we were better."

Northwest senior Logan Vestring scored two goals and David Lucio scored the other.

Vestring provided a number of headaches for the Redskins, seemingly at the center of the action for most of the time he was on the field.

"We knew they were going to be very aggressive, they weren't going to give us anything," Vestring said. "We just battled and stayed in there, and it paid off."

Vestring creates problems for defenders, Bribiesca said.

"He's tough to mark, he's great on the left flank. What it came down to was we did what we had to do today."

North twice cut the deficit to a single goal after scores by junior Alayn Renteria in the first half and sophomore Andre Van Es in the second.

Although the Redskins have been hit hard by injuries this season, they still have managed to keep improving, Lewis said.

"We improve every day," he said. "Through the season, we've had our challenges with injuries and readjustments, and we put it together here at the end and gave it a shot."

A stark contrast to Northwest's experience, many of North's players are underclassmen and will return next year.

"We're going to continue to work, and we're going to just keep getting better," Lewis said. "We're going to come back, and we expect to go farther next year."

The Grizzlies advance to Friday's 6A semifinals at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.

North1 1 — 2 Northwest2 2 — 4

First half — 1. NW, Lucio (unassisted), 28:18; 2. NW, Vestring (unassisted), 20:46; 3. N, Renteria (unassisted), 8:30. Second half — 1. NW, Vestring (unassisted), 34:40; 2. N, Van Es (unassisted), 22:41; 3. NW, Crafton (unassisted), 7:24. Shots — North 1-3-4; Northwest 3-11-14. Saves — North 2-9-11; Northwest 0-2-2.

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