Naperville Central defeats Naperville North
Naperville Central wasn't supposed to be at Friday night's Class 4A Metea Valley boys soccer sectional final. Having made it that far anyway, the Redhawks decided to enjoy themselves.
The No. 8 seed in the sectional, the Redhawks upset their top-seeded cross-town rivals, defeating Naperville North 1-0 in Aurora.
"This is a good example of every single player doing what's expected of them at 100 percent," Redhawks coach Troy Adams said. "And we talked about it was going to take something like that. When you play North they're going to come hard. They're going to work. The only way you beat a team like North is you outwork them."
Junior Felix Leyva provided the game's only scoring. His well-struck shot from the top of the box came in the 46th minute.
From there it was up to the Naperville Central defense, and it was up to the task. The back line of Joe Granato, Noah Canlas, Frank DeStefano and Griffin Geisler, plus defensive midfielder Matthew Egan, frustrated the Huskies attack all night.
"They did awesome today," Redhawks goalkeeper Joseph Kallikadan said.
Kallikadan was in peak form also. He made three big-time saves -- in the 52nd, 66th and 80th minutes -- to keep the shutout intact.
"He came up with three huge saves," Adams said. "And that's what you expect from your senior keeper that's a third-year varsity keeper. You expect him to make those saves. Joe did what we want him to do and what we expect him to do. It's a testament to his character as a person and his work rate as a keeper."
"We had a ton of chances and we just couldn't put them away," added Huskies coach Jim Konrad, whose team finished 17-5. "We were inside the 6(-yard box) a couple of times and we just weren't able to put it in. Their goalkeeper came up with some big saves for them. That's the tough thing about soccer. You've got to finish your chances otherwise stuff like this happens."
To Kallikadan, it was a matter of the proper motivation and hard work.
"Knowing that they ended our season last year the game before (2-1 in the sectional semifinal), we wanted to do that for them this year," he said.
The victory is the fifth straight for the Redhawks (12-10).
"Ask any coach when you want your longest winning streak, the end of the year works well," Adams said.
To get No. 6 they'll need another upset; they'll play Morton at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Lewis University supersectional, a team they lost to 5-0 back in August. Morton defeated Downers Grove South 4-3 in penalty kicks after regulation and overtime ended 0-0.
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