Naperville North senior Zoe Swift didn’t waste any time in the second half of Friday’s second semifinal against Neuqua Valley in the Naperville Invitational at Naperville Central.
Swift scored after just 1:17 had ticked off the clock in the second half to give Naperville North the lead over Neuqua Valley.
The Huskies maintained that lead to defeat the Wildcats 2-1 and advance to today’s noon championship against Naperville Central, the lone team to defeat them during their Class 3A championship season in 2012.
“Tomorrow they get a chance to play against their cross-town rival that beat them in penalty kicks last year and gave them their only loss,” Naperville North coach Steve Goletz said. “I hopefully won’t have to motivate them much.”
Naperville North (11-0-2) struck first, as Swift connected from about 25 yards out just a little less than seven minutes in. It was the first goal surrendered by the Wildcats since April 15 after shutting out five straight opponents.
Neuqua Valley (10-3-1) wasn’t deflated by Swift’s heroics and answered quickly with the equalizer. Junior Katie Ciesiulka connected with senior Hope D’Addario, whose header made it a 1-1 contest with 28:12 still remaining in the first half.
“I thought it was an exciting, well played game, but unfortunately we didn’t have many scoring chances,” Neuqua Valley coach Joe Moreau said. “We knew it was going to be difficult coming in against them.”
The Huskies did a fantastic job — especially as the match wore on — of minimizing the Wildcats from getting the ball to their top players in opportunistic positions on the field. D’Addario was constantly pressured, as was Gianna Dal Pozzo.
“Especially in the second half, I thought Christa (Szalach) and Emily (Bromagen) did a fantastic job,” Goletz said. “And then to come and score an early goal after halftime, that definitely gave us a great feeling.”
Swift has now scored more goals, 7, than games she’s played in, 6.
“Last game I didn’t get any goals which was fine,” she said. “(Abbie) Boswell got the goals. She told me tonight that she was going to get me one. We’re just working off of each other.”
The Huskies have prom scheduled for later in the evening Saturday, just like a season ago. They’ll look to avoid it as a distraction.
“That wasn’t a good feeling last year, especially for the seniors,” Swift said. “We need to take care of this game and win the championship.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.