The Naperville North girls water polo team showed in the first 25 seconds of Tuesday's 15-4 win at Neuqua Valley why it's a top 10 team in Illinois and has only lost twice this season.
Taylor Stoner immediately got two shots off as the Huskies pressured the Wildcats (5-9) from the start. About two minutes later Dani DiMatteo put Naperville North on the scoreboard first and the Huskies didn't let up, working their way to a 10-1 halftime lead and staying in control the rest of the way.
Sophomore Jillian Eiken, who scored the final goal of the first quarter, said it's crucial for the Huskies to continue to improve their game even when the outcome is decided early.
"It's a huge advantage. You can work on more fundamentals -- setting up, moving the ball around, trying to get shots from outside," she said.
Three of Naperville North's first five scores came from freshman Katie Horn, who finished with 5 goals. The second quarter saw almost a carbon copy performance from another freshman as Caitlin Holzer tallied 3 goals for the Huskies, 4 for the game.
Neuqua finally broke the shutout with 3:16 left until halftime on a goal from Abbie Teeling. The Wildcats scored the first goal of the third quarter as Morgan Miller was fed a well-timed pass from Lauren Harder. Harder scored late in the game, and Brooke Bedford racked up the Wildcats' final goal.
"It was important to try to get off to a good start," said Neuqua coach Lucy Tiffin. "Three of our seniors are injured, and some of the young girls have had to learn to play aggressive.
"On the upside it's nice to start developing the younger players earlier and hopefully when the seniors return they can give us a spark," Tiffin said.
Stoner hit net in the second half for three goals, two coming in the third. Taylor Bridgman scored in the final quarter also.
"The season is going well so far," Eiken said. "It's fun playing Neuqua Valley. It's great to see the girls from club and play against them."