Naperville Central came out in attack mode during Saturday night's Class 3A Metea Valley regional title game against the host Mustangs.
The assault toward Metea Valley goalkeeper Tim Howard wasn't perfect, but the results were still very good as Ben Border, Devon Amoo-Mensah and David Murphy scored in a 3-0 victory.
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Winning their seventh regional title in eight years, the Redhawks earned the right to move on to Tuesday's Class 3A Metea Valley sectional semifinal against Neuqua Valley.
"We knew it would be tough against them, because they won their conference and have been playing well," Naperville Central's David Murphy said. "We got that early goal and then just tried to keep them down in the second half and not give them confidence."
Naperville Central (15-2-2) finally broke through with 25:21 left in the opening half, on a Border header via Sam Reskala. Border's ricochet had plenty of English as it curled into the net to give the Redhawks the 1-0 advantage after coming up empty on several better or equally impressive chances in the first 15 minutes.
"The captains actually had a team practice without me this morning, which they said they wanted to do to get everybody ready," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said. "Whatever they worked on this morning worked, although they could've maybe spent more time on finishing."
Metea Valley (10-8-3) had to feel relieved that it was only down 1-0 after the first 40 minutes.
"They came out and really just put a lot of pressure on us and got it to 1-0 at the half," Metea Valley coach Josh Robinson said. "But we thought we could come out in the second half and do better, but it was just difficult because we weren't as composed as we needed to be today."
If there was any chance for the Mustangs to turn things around via an equalizer in the second half, it ended quickly when all-stater Amoo-Mensah scored with 37:12 remaining.
About seven minutes later Murphy dribbled up top and then buried a 30-footer with his right foot that just got into the far corner of the net for a 3-0 lead with a few ticks over 30 minutes remaining. Regardless, his goal pretty much sealed the regional title.
"All year long we've been talking about keeping it low and hard and since their keeper is very good I tried to keep it low," Murphy said. "We knew this was a dangerous team, so we wanted to do whatever we could to get ahead early and keep their heads down."