Matt Frey/Medford Star News

Olivia Killian boots a ball during the second half of a Great Northern Conference win over Medford on Tuesday, May 15, at Stetsonville Elementary School.
Matt Frey/Medford Star News

Olivia Killian boots a ball during the second half of a Great Northern Conference win over Medford on Tuesday, May 15, at Stetsonville Elementary School.
After a sluggish start in a loss at Ashland, Lakeland Union High School's girls' soccer team had some time to reflect, rest and get ready for Tuesday's trip to Medford.

Early on, not much changed. The Thunderbirds took a 1-0 lead in the first half and controlled possession, but could not pull away.

After a halftime pep talk, Lakeland exploded early in the second half, scoring five goals in the span of eight minutes en route to a 6-1 victory.

"We had a little chat at halftime about things we needed to work on," LUHS head coach Stephanie Hartzheim said. "It seems to be a little bit of a trend to come out stronger in the second half and the girls picked up on what we said, took it to heart and scored five goals in the second half."

Olivia Killian remained hot, putting Lakeland on the board with a bomb from 30 yards out less than 25 minutes into the game.

That was all the offense the T-Birds could muster in the first 45 minutes, however, leading to the aforementioned halftime discussion.

"We still needed to shift as a team, we needed to pressure together, we needed to make more simple passes, we needed to make more crosses to keep it away from the keeper, we needed to make more diagonal runs - there was quite a few different things," Hartzheim said.

The message was received, as Killian struck again at the 48:41 mark on a pass into the box from Sagen Quale.

Erika Intrepidi scored four minutes later on a cross from Abby Parris to start a run of three goals in 125 seconds.

Roughly a minute later, Quale scored on another crossing pass from Intrepidi and the rout was on.

All six goals came from the most potent offensive players for Lakeland, with Killian scoring two goals - bringing her GNC total to nine and a team-high 10 for the season - along with Intrepidi posting two goals and an assist, while Quale and Parris each added a goal and an assist.

"They all worked really well together in that second half," Hartzheim said. "They were moving throughout the top and not just staying in their set positions, so that helped confuse the defense and gave them more scoring opportunities."

Lakeland returned to the pitch for another GNC tilt Thursday, hosting Northland Pines.

With a game at Kingsford, Mich. tonight, the T-Birds have just one more games left on the regular season schedule - a GNC match against Mosinee on Thursday.

The home stretch is going to be crucial for playoff seeding, particularly with a tough bracket facing them.

"It was big to have Medford tonight and come out with another win in the conference," Hartzheim said. "I know we have a tough game on Thursday and it's going to be a battle and hopefully the girls can recover quickly and pick it back up for Kingsford."

Lakeland (4-4-1, 3-2 GNC) travels to Kingsford tonight at 5 p.m.

Nick Sabato may be reached at nick@lakelandtimes.com or via Twitter @NickSabatoLT.