The comforts of home are often taken for granted.
Neuqua Valley doesn't have turf like many of its biggest neighboring rivals, but the Wildcats found themselves at home on the natural surface on Saturday afternoon against Naperville Central.
Those comfy environs couldn't have been more enjoyable.
The Wildcats gave up a goal early but rallied to score three straight that went unanswered in a 3-1 victory.
"We're definitely starting to get in our groove now," Neuqua Valley's Kiley Czerwinski said. "I think it was mainly just us getting used to our new team. Last year we had some good seniors and we relied on them a lot and I think this year we're starting to rely on other people and we're working more as a team."
Naperville Central scored its lone goal when MacKenzie Sisko pounced off her own miss on a corner kick.
"I think that we really set the pace for the first few minutes, but the heat just got to us," Sisko said. "I think we were trying to work really hard and we were trying to keep that pace, but they were beating us to balls and they were finding feet and we didn't keep up."
That inability to keep pace with the Wildcats proved crucial in the outcome.
Ryan Gareis knotted the match at 1-1 with less than eight minutes left in the first half when she pounced on a pass from Allie Fullreide and found an empty net. It was Fullreide who once again proved to be a difference-maker in the game-winner, firing a 13-yard shot that clanked off the cross bar but conveniently into the footsteps of Kiley Czerwinski. Czerwinski buried the shot into the back of the net early in the second half.
The Wildcats then pretty much broke the game open with less than four minutes left when Sabrina Georgeff scored on a header with 3:52 remaining.
"We kind of know how each other plays now," Georgeff said. "We've learned each other's styles, so now we're just kind of meshing."
While the scoring was huge, holding off the attack of the Redhawks was equally as impressive.
"Early in the season we played well but just couldn't finish," Wildcats coach Joe Moreau said. "We had a bad week, nd we were changing things up and then since then I think we've been playing pretty well."