Playing against a cold wind and an unbeaten Naperville North team, Lyons Township coach Bill Lanspeary was just fine with a scoreless tie after 40 minutes of soccer Saturday afternoon.
But that first half of solid defense and hope was not enough as the host Huskies (9-0-2) scored once early and once late in the second half en route to a 2-0 victory that advances Naperville North to the quarterfinals of the 16th annual Naperville Invitational.
After a first half in which the Huskies had just two shots on goals while the Lions (6-3-2) didn't get a single shot on net, Naperville North struck less than seven minutes into the second half when sophomore sensation Abbie Boswell set up Christa Szalach for the game's first goal. It was the first of 2 assists in the game for Boswell, and the goal proved to be the game-winner after the Huskies defense held Lyons Twp. to just two shots on goal for the game while Fiona Baenziger picked up a shutout without much effort.
Szalach credited a nice feed from Boswell for allowing her to score the critical first goal of the game.
"I think (the score) got our hopes up and allowed us to stay in the game and keep pushing," said the senior midfielder. "Then Zoe (Swift) did a nice job of topping it off."
With the outcome still up in the air, Boswell used her speed and her left foot to set up Swift for a pretty one-timer that sealed the victory with 1:44 left to play. With the Lions star defender Ari Kowalski limiting Naperville North's threats on Saturday, it was important for the hosts to take advantage of the chances they did get.
Boswell, who scored three goals in Friday night's 7-1 pool play defeat of Lincoln-Way Central, was quite content with recording the helpers in this game.
"Getting that first goal was exciting and we were able to get some momentum," said Boswell, who has 15 goals and 6 assists this spring. "(On the second goal) I just got to the sideline and tried to beat my defender. I hit it with my left foot and Zoe just did an amazing job."
Lanspeary was happy with his team's effort, but like most Huskies opponents this season, left the field very impressed with Swift and Boswell.
"Quite honestly, we figured if we could get to the half 0-0 that we were in pretty good shape," he said. "I thought our defense was fantastic, but those two (Swift and Boswell) are as dangerous as you get."
After losing to Naperville Central last year in a shootout, the Huskies want to win the tourney title this time around.
"It's been a while and we want to win," Szalach said. "Last year making it to the finals and losing to (Naperville) Central on PKs was not fun. Our goal is to win this year."