If regular-season success carries over into the IHSA state series, Naperville Central and Benet could extend their respective seasons for a long time.
If both win a sectional title, they'll meet again for the third time this fall in late October at the Romeoville supersectional at Lewis University.
The teams met Saturday afternoon at Benet, and in a nonconference game that saw rain throughout most of the contest, as well as a 30-minute lightning delay, Naperville Central broke a 1-1 tie with a rebound goal from Jay Tegge to prevail 2-1.
Benet had beaten the Redhawks in the first meeting between the teams 3-2 in the Best of West on Sept. 7.
"It was a good late-season, Saturday game," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said. "So we'll come back on Monday, and we'll work and then have our most important game of the year (Naperville North on Tuesday), which every (game) is from this time out."
The game-winner was a thing of beauty.
It started with some nice give-and-go play from Sam Reskala and David Murphy.
"They like to sit back defensively," Murphy said. "We knew that, so the biggest thing was getting the ball to the forwards' feet and running up from there."
Murphy fed the ball to Jordi Heeneman, whose shot caromed off the right post where Tegge collected the rebound and smacked it in for a 2-1 lead with 8:26 remaining.
"We've been working a lot on getting diagonal runs and that's how we always get open," Heeneman said. "I would've liked to have scored, but we won, which is fine with me."
Benet (14-3-1) jumped ahead early, scoring just 4:30 in on Mike Rindler's 17th goal of the season. It proved to be the Redwings' only opportunity of the first half as they struggled in possessing the ball and threatening the Redhawks.
"When we needed to connect and keep the ball, we didn't," Benet coach Sean Wesley said. "We wasted that whole first half. Even though the goal we had was fantastic and well worked -- and we played great for the first eight minutes or so -- after that it was just garbage. We couldn't keep the ball and didn't deal well with their pressure."
Wesley felt the Redwings didn't take advantage of sloppy field conditions, especially since his squad likes to dispossess, go forward and play fast.
"I thought (Naperville Central) played better than us," he said. "I mean, for 70 percent of the game they were obviously the better team and dealt with the conditions and were still able to play the game."
Naperville Central (12-2-2) came out strong in the second half as Reskala recovered Murphy's shot, which was knocked away by Benet goalkeeper Konrad Bayer, and put it in just 1:53 after intermission.