WOODSTOCK – Woodstock North was aware its crosstown rival Woodstock had revenge on its mind.
While their win two weeks ago against Woodstock made the Thunder confident they could replicate their performance Wednesday in the Class 2A regional semifinal, the stakes this time were completely different.
The Thunder's attacking style of play created plenty of chances and the Blue Streaks couldn't match their prolific scoring. No. 3-seeded Woodstock North cruised to a 5-0 win against No. 2 Woodstock and advanced to Friday's regional final against top-seeded Marian Central.
Five different players scored for the Thunder (11-11-1), who have a chance at securing their program's first regional title.
"It means a lot," junior forward Josh Jandron said of playing for the regional title. "Last year, we almost had it and we want redemption. We want it."
Jandron set the tone for Woodstock North with his goal five minutes into the game off a feed from senior forward Julio Campos. Campos helped orchestrate the Thunder's next goal with 7:43 remaining in the first half when he found Victor Ortiz, who capitalized on a misplay by the Woodstock goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
"The kids were still in pretty good spirits [at halftime]," Blue Streaks coach Mike Golda said. "They had a decent half, we just weren't finishing. In the second half I thought we were going to get back in it. ... Goalkeeping was kind of an issue tonight."
Thunder senior midfielder Aaron Jones delivered the all-important goal 10 minutes into the second half. Not only did his header into the back of the net off a beautiful cross from junior Alejandro Miranda give Woodstock North a three-goal lead, it help dimmed the Blue Streaks' thoughts of a comeback.
"Going into the second half up 2-0 is definitely not a big enough score to put it away so we thought we had to get that first goal to really set that momentum for the rest of the game," Jones said. "I thought it was huge."
Woodstock (6-15-1) struggled to find space in Woodstock North's defense and had to work hard in the second half to get any clean looks at the net. With snow starting to fall, junior defender Esteban Albarran's strike from 25 yards away with 23:54 remaining put the Thunder ahead 4-0. Freshman forward Edder Tapia finished off the scoring on a cross from Chris Niese.
"They were all great team-effort goals," Thunder coach Lauren Farley said. "That's the part that's the best is that they were great passes and they built from the defense up."