Girls soccer: Naperville Central frosh Kane delivers OT game-winner at Neuqua Valley

Welcome to the varsity and welcome to DuPage Valley Conference soccer Eleanor Kane.

The Naperville Central freshman defender tipped home a controversial overtime goal for a 4-3 victory Tuesday at Neuqua Valley. The Redhawks newcomer has already established herself as a leader on the team’s defense and now she has a big time game-winning goal to boot.

The host Wildcats (2-3, 0-1) had led the game 3-2 late before Naperville Central’s Rebbecca Ruggiero blasted a 25-yarder into the back of the net to even the score with 3:36 left to play. That sent the contest into overtime, the second extra-session affair already for the Redhawks in their first week of DVC action.

Fellow freshman Emerson Burke, who has played with Kane since their preschool days, then took a corner kick about 4 minutes into overtime. The ball was first deflected by a Wildcat defender and then Kane tapped the ball while surrounded by a pair of defenders and it rolled in for the game-winner, even though several players on the field didn’t seem to know the game had ended.

“I was surprised. I thought it [deflection] was way over my head,” said Kane, whose score helped the Redhawks bounce back from an overtime loss to Waubonsie Valley. “It was excruciating out there. Neuqua Valley is a really good opponent and I was excited we got the win.”

The Wildcats’ Chloe Orlow, who had given her team a 3-2 lead with a goal with 9:22 left in the second half, had a difficult time assessing the last play and the tough loss. Some Wildcats players didn’t think the ball actually crossed the goal line on the final play.

“It was a hard start, falling behind 1-0, but we got the momentum at the end and had a 3-2 lead,” the junior midfielder said. “But it’s a tough loss, a sad result.”

Redhawks coach Troy Adams can’t say enough about the play of Kane, a newcomer to high school soccer who has already piled up plenty of achievements in club soccer.

“She’s just outstanding in the back. She’s the type of kid who wants to keep on learning,” he said. “She’s the epitome of what you’d want a Redhawks soccer player to be.”

Naperville Central struck first on Tuesday when Isabella Brozek made a nifty move on a counter attack to tally the first of her two goals. It was 1-1 at the half after Miabella Kraai scored late for the Wildcats.

The back and forth second half saw Neuqua Valley move ahead 2-1 on a score by Alexis May only to have Brozek make it a 2-2 game 12 minutes into the second half.

“Both teams were pretty even and it was a great game,” Wildcats coach Arnoldo Gonzalez said. “You just don’t want to see a game end on a questionable goal like that.”

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