Justin Langan tied a Mid-Continent Conference record with three goals and Jake Horn added a pair as Western Illinois downed Valparaiso 6-1 in the Mid-Continent Conference semifinals on a cold Friday morning in Rochester, Mich.
The Crusaders had the first opportunities of the match but were unable to capitalize. Josh Peacher (Granite City, Ill./Granite City H.S.) just missed wide right deflecting a corner just over a minute into the match and Jon Flugstad (San Antonio, Texas/Robert E. Lee H.S.) had a free kick saved by Chris Frenz in the ninth minute.
The Leathernecks got on the scoreboard in the 18th minute as Langan found a loose ball inside the box and beat Jeff Oleck (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral H.S.).
Ryan Wolin (Highland Park, Ill./Highland Park H.S.) looked for the equalizer a minute later but his blast from 20 yards out just skated by the left post.
Langan made the score 2-0 at the 22:07 mark, deflecting a Boris Bacsovics shot into the top right corner. Horn added a goal six minutes later after pinpoint passing across the box allowed him to find the back of the net.
Valpo had a pair of opportunities late in the opening stanza to get on the board, but were unable to do so.
Ben Olson (Oregon, Wis./Oregon H.S.) had a header go off of the crossbar seven minutes into the second half before Langan struck again, this time taking a Bacsovics cross and finding the nearside in the 54th minute. Horn added the fifth goal at 70:52 from the top of the box.
Wolin put Valpo on the board at 80:35 on a shot from 18 yards out on the left side to cut the lead to four, but Bob Wallace tacked on a late goal with 1:28 to play to round out the scoring.
Western Illinois outshot Valpo 22-17 for the match, holding a 14-7 advantage on net. Oleck made six saves for the Crusaders, while Frenz made a pair for the Leathernecks and Armen Tonianse added three in the final 19 minutes.
Valpo wrapped up its season with a 5-10-2 mark, while Western Illinois (9-10-1) will advance to the Mid-Con title match on Sunday.