Emily Sejna and the rest of the starters on Naperville Central's girls water polo team had just been taken out late in a state quarterfinal against Mother McAuley on Friday night at Stevenson High School.
But Sejna, the Redhawks' senior 2-meter defender, neglected to go straight to her team's bench.
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Instead she stood next to Naperville Central coach Jeff Plackett as Plackett, crouching on the pool deck, delivering orders to his reserves.
"I was there to support them," Sejna said after scoring 2 goals in a 7-2 win over Mother McAuley. "Fresh legs were about to enter the game, and I thought they might be a little nervous. And most of them are young."
The old but good news after the win is Naperville Central (32-2) gets to play today in the program's fourth state semifinal in five years. Plackett's crew will face St. Ignatius at 11:30 a.m. in Lincolnshire.
Sejna, senior goalkeeper Julia Campbell and the rest of the Redhawks' defense blanked the Might Macs (25-8-1) in the first and fourth quarters. Naperville Central also boasts the best offensive player in the state in senior Abbey Kerth, who struck for another hat trick and increased her season goal total to 128.
Juniors Erin Reagan and Madison Nervig scored the victors' other 2 goals Friday night.
Naperville Central led only 3-1 at the half before netting 3 goals in the third quarter. The Redhawks owned a 6-2 advantage after three quarters.
"We dropped quickly when the ball went to the middle," Plackett said of his defense. "And our goalie (Julia Campbell) played really well tonight, didn't she? To allow only two goals in a state tournament game -- that's impressive."
Plackett also lauded Redhawks senior driver Jamie Schweikart, who missed the only shot she took.
"You're not going to look at the stat sheet and see much next to her name," Plackett said. "But she did an incredible job defensively (on Mother McAuley's Adriana Izquierdo). She came in cold and did all we asked of her. I'm happy for Jamie and encouraged by what she did for the team tonight."
Izquierdo's goal total Friday night was the same as Schweikart's.
Kristen Kleist and Vicky Arciniega tallied the Mighty Macs' goals.