GRAYSLAKE -- Freddy Barnshaw scored a first half hat-trick, and his Wauconda teammates added three more after the break to send Northern Lake County Conference co-champion Wauconda to a 6-1 win over Woodstock North and a berth in the Grayslake North Regional final.
Next up for the no. 3-seed are the host Knights (11-8-0), who defeated Saint Viator 1-0 in the nightcap of the semifinals.
Barnshaw bagged the opener in the 16th minute off a lovely helper from Antonio Valdes. He then doubled the Bulldogs advantage in the 24th minute when he ran onto a ball from Sam Jurczyk and got enough of a touch to get it past Thunder keeper Dylan Flores. Despite six going into the back of his net, Flores turned in a magnificent 80 minutes between the sticks and took at least four away from Wauconda on the day.
Wauconda was happy put the playoff opener behind them.
"This was a good game to get out of the way -- first game of the playoffs is always tough," said Barnshaw, a three-year starter who now has 11 goals on the season.
"Freddy is a silky smooth, dynamic player, who has taken his game to another level this season," said Bulldogs manager Tim Miller.
The electric Barnshaw was not the only threat Miller's club featured.
Francisco Cabral (10 goals, 13 assists), Julian Salas, Jurczyk and Lucas DosSantos, off the bench, were all key figures in the contest.
And you can never leave senior Karsten Ternes out of the conversation.
The all-state candidate, who plays the six with excellence, was recently named the Player of the Year in the Northern Lake Country Conference. He missed the coaches' all-state team by one vote.
"Karsten is physically imposing, an amazing captain, wins so many balls for us, is humble, and in my opinion has to be one of the best players at the six around," said Tim Miller.
Ternes assisted on Barnshaw's third tally in the 36th minute. Then in the 60th minute, his brilliant early ball sent Antonio Valdes through to steer in the final goal for the Bulldogs.
"There's so much chemistry and confidence in this team, since the beginning of the year," Ternes said. "We have a talented bench that is able to come in and play at a level where there isn't a drop off."
Cabral made it 4-0 just minutes after the break with a terrific helper from DosSantos, who also helped Julian Sales bury his effort in the 51st minute.
In early September, the host Bulldogs defeated Grayslake North 5-1 in league action. The rematch is set at the Knights castle at noon Saturday.