Naperville North just kept knocking.
"We were really on the doorstep, I thought, the whole game," Huskies midfielder Jack Barry said after his team defeated cross-town rival Naperville Central 1-0 in overtime Friday at the Class 3A Naperville North boys soccer sectional final. "It was just a full-on battle for 100 minutes, you really can't say much different. We were lucky we could get on the end of that one. I don't know how many I threw, I was just glad that we could get on the end of that one and put one in."
It took nearly 90 minutes to get the winning goal, and not surprisingly it came on a restart. Barry's throw-in found 6-foot-4 defender Colin Iverson in the Redhawks penalty area. Iverson's header looped just over Redhawks goalkeeper Ethan Conners, who reached back to tip the ball over the crossbar but couldn't get enough on it.
"They do certain things very well," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said, "and when you give them enough chances at the things they do very well, you're definitely playing with fire and at some point it's going to burn you."
"We knew it would probably have to be an ugly goal," Barry added. "We'll take them as we get them. It's playoff time, any goal counts. Any goal that gets us a win is a win. We're just super excited to get on to the next round."
How close did Conners come to saving the ball?
"Very close," Iverson said. "He had a very good hand on that. I wasn't even sure it was going in."
It was Iverson's 14th goal of the season.
"They were just as committed to winning as we were," Naperville North coach Jim Konrad said of the Redhawks. "We were fortunate to get the one ball that drifted over the goalkeeper's head. You throw enough balls in the air, enough goes, you know at some point it's going to rattle in. I'm just glad it was on our end."
The Huskies will meet Morton, the team that gave them their only draw of the season, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lewis University supersectional.
"That'll be another battle," Barry said.
The game settled the season series between the two schools. No. 2-seeded Naperville Central (15-5-3) won in DuPage Valley Conference play, handing the top-seeded Huskies (24-1-1) their only loss, but Naperville North won in the Best of the West tournament final.
Naperville North set a school record for wins in a season with Friday's victory.
Naperville Central ends its playoff run having allowed just 1 goal in four games, and it came in overtime at that.
"That's a great defensive effort," Adams said. "They managed to score goals when they needed to, couldn't find one today. That happens."