Since she was a young forward, Naperville North senior Zoe Swift has heard coaches tell her to follow shots.
On Friday afternoon at the Class 3A Bolingbrook sectional final, it paid off. Twice.
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Twice a Naperville North shot hit the Waubonsie Valley crossbar, and twice Swift was on the spot to tap it into the Warriors' goal in the Huskies' 2-1 victory.
"A lot of people don't follow their shots, and coach always screams at us about it, so it's good to actually score a goal," Swift said.
Naperville North will play Collinsville on Tuesday in Normal for a chance at a return trip to the Final Four at North Central College in Naperville.
"I'd like to say we drew it up where we hit the crossbar and Zoe followed it, but that obviously isn't what we did," Huskies coach Steve Goletz said. "But we'll take it."
Swift scored in the eighth minute when Emily Bromagen's shot from 40 yards bounced off the ground and then up off the bar and back to Swift, who headed it into the goal from 4 yards out.
"That's what's so special is you need goal scorers, and I fortunately have two of them," Goletz said. "Zoe fortunately put two in the net. (Sophomore Abbie Boswell) struggled a little bit today, but Zoe steps up and does a phenomenal job for the second game in a row."
"If you watch the game, our kids played well," Warriors coach Julie Bergstrom added. "Our kids tried to play soccer and tried to move the ball, get a goal, make it happen, and unfortunately it bounced off a crossbar and they put it in on the rebound. And then we're in their end. I thought our kids battled."
Waubonsie Valley tied the game in the 55th when freshman Paige Filipek headed in a Kristen Brots corner kick to the near post.
The game looked destined for overtime, but Swift struck again in the 77th minute. A Cora Climo free kick from 35 yards was saved off the crossbar by Warriors goalkeeper Emma Rigby, and this time Swift used her right foot to tap the ball into the goal after beating a defender to the ball.
"There was a defender right by me," Swift said. "She had me and then I just got a foot on it and it went into the top of the goal. I was just happy it went in."
"Obviously, Waubonsie's an unbelievable team," Goletz said. "They definitely outplayed us today for large stretches of it. But our girls battled."
Though defending state champion Naperville North had a slim 16-14 advantage in shots during the game, Waubonsie Valley won the possession battle, keeping the ball in its offensive third of the field for large portions of the game. But the Naperville North defense hung tough to keep the talented Warriors from scoring during the run of play.
"To keep a team like that off the scoreboard in the run of play says something about our back line," Goletz said.
"They dominated most of the game," Swift added about the Warriors. "Somehow we still came out with the win."
Swift worked hard defensively also, frequently tracking back during the run of play and to clear corner kicks.
"Zoe wins three balls in the air in the last seven minutes on corner kicks, which they were so dangerous on," Goletz said. "That's been her the last two games. I mean she has been all over the field. We're a pretty dangerous team when she plays like that."
"Zoe's just a great all-around athlete and soccer player," Climo added, "and she's just got the soccer sense. She always knows where to go on the field and she works so hard to get there. She always finds a way to get it done."
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