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updated: 5/18/2017 9:54 PM

Girls water polo: Naperville Central locks down state semifinal berth

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Once Naperville Central figured out New Trier, there was no stopping the Redhawks.

Naperville Central advanced to the girls water polo state semifinals with a 12-4 victory Thursday at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

"We hadn't played New Trier all season, so it was our first time seeing a lot of them in action and not just hearing about it," Redhawks senior goalie Sara Campbell said. "So making sure we identified who the key players were, who we wanted to shoot, who we didn't want to shoot as much and locking down on those kinds of things.

"There's always a few players on a team that tend to score a lot of goals, so when you find those players you're able to lock down defensively and go at them."

New Trier also threw a curveball at the Redhawks.

"I'll be honest with you, what we saw from New Trier tonight was not really what we were expecting," Redhawks coach Jeff Plackett said. "As they always are, they're fast, they're physical. We generally had them pegged for a little bit different drive pattern than what we were seeing there."

The Redhawks (32-2) needed just one quarter to figure out New Trier (20-10). New Trier scored just once in the second quarter, and the Trevians' only second-half goal was the last goal of the game and came on a penalty shot.

Naperville Central scored the first two goals of the game, but New Trier tied it briefly in the first quarter. The Redhawks scored three in the final two minutes of the first period to re-establish the lead.

Then the offense went stagnant for the second quarter, giving the Trevians hope for the second half.

"We were definitely a little more motivated at halftime," Campbell said. "But I think that after the first quarter we got out a little fast and wanted to lock down on defense and we forgot a little bit about offense. So at halftime we kind of reassessed, talked about what went well and what didn't and tried to combine both of those things to be successful at both of those things."

Rylee Brower led the Redhawks with 5 goals, giving her 113 for the season. Emily Westlove scored three times to increase her season total to 118, and Charlotte Albright scored twice, taking advantage of the Trevians focusing on her higher-scoring teammates. Anne Marie Gunn and Alli Hansen scored a goal apiece.

Albright's play in the third quarter keyed the Redhawks, Plackett said.

"Not only the two goals ... but she had 3 steals in that quarter, and I would argue that those 3 steals were equally important," Plackett said.

Naperville Central will play Fenwick (25-6-1) at 9 a.m. Saturday in the state semifinals.

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