An early goal from Brooke Ksiazek and a back-breaking strike in the 40th minute from Katie Ciesiulka helped send Neuqua Valley through to the quarterfinals of the 16th annual Naperville Invite with a 4-0 victory over St. Viator.
The Wildcats also scored a 5-0 shutout of Wheaton Warrenville South.
The Wildcats (7-2-1) will face Hinsdale Central on Thursday at Naperville Central.
“We came out strong and with a lot of energy, especially in the first 15 minutes when we were able to get one into the back of the net to get the lead, then we kept the pressure (up) and got a big goal right before the break, and that’s about all we would need today,” said senior Hope D’Addario, who along with midfield mate Ksiazek was dynamic in the first half. They stoked the fires of the Wildcats attack in order to keep a young and inexperienced St. Viator (4-4) on its heels from the opening whistle.
“We lost a game we could have won last night (Wheaton Warrenville South 1-0) but we had a very difficult time against a quality ball-club that Joe (Moreau) has put together,” said Lions coach Mike Taylor, whose club went 0-2-0 in pool play.
“We can’t use the excuse that we’re young much younger, but the fact is, this team needs to play a lot more before they find their personality and individual role and right now, when you’re playing very good 3A teams, that’s going to be a difficult thing to do.”
Neuqua took the lead when D’Addario’s 45-yard well-placed free kick was initially stopped by Lions goalkeeper Samantha Stanley but spilled into the penalty area, where Ksiazek poured into the back of the net.
The Wildcats’ route to the goal would continue to open up, and if not for save by Stanley on Gianna Dal Pozzo, or her nice grab of a looping serve from Georgeff, the lead could have been greater.
“We had trouble holding onto the ball and possessing, and some poor turnovers in our own end helped keep us under pressure in that first half,” Taylor said.
D’Addario beat the Lions trap with a superb early ball down the left side, and the recipient, Katie Ciesiulka finished with an artists’ touch just seconds before time.
The Lions got into the game a little bit more after the break, with the help of senior Erin Renee Murphy, who has been outstanding thus far in the MF, and some hard running by Lauren Kohn and Micaela Lonigro up top, in addition to Sarah Cooney off the bench, but the Wildcats could swing things back in its favor so quickly, and at 64 minutes, Georgeff would score the first of her two, with the help of D’Addario once again.
Later, Kelly Keckler would do all of the preliminary work on Georgeff’s second goal of the match, and season to put the icing on the cake at 77 minutes.
“It was important for us to conserve energy, and to keep our legs fresh for our second game later today, so we just went out and did our jobs, got the lead, and tried to possess and keep (St. Viator) in its end as much as we could,” offered D’Addario.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.