Boys soccer: Naperville North stuns nation's top-ranked team
Naperville North is used to playing with a target on its back.
During Tuesday's Class 3A Romeoville supersectional at Lewis University, the Huskies played the underdog role, but the result was once again the same.
Despite having to play the top-ranked team in the nation, the Huskies prevailed, earning a 2-0 victory and advancing to state for the first time since 2010.
Morton handed the Huskies one of their two losses this season, a 3-1 decision in late August.
"They shocked the world tonight," Huskies coach Jim Konrad said. "I couldn't be more proud of them."
Senior Jack Bromagen, who scored and had an assist to lead the way, said the team relished being the 100-to-1 shot squad for a change.
"Today for the first time we got to relax because there was no pressure really on us to win this game," he said. "We were the underdogs and finally were able to take the pressure off our backs for once."
The game took a huge swing in Naperville North's favor midway through the second half when the Huskies scored twice in a matter of 45 seconds, and it was a freshman who helped get them started.
Bromagen received the ball wide and then cut back. He then spotted freshman Cesar Recendez in the middle and played the ball to him.
"I saw (Bromagen) get out wide and I moved into the box," Recendez said. "I saw the ball and just tapped it in."
It was only Recendez's second goal of the season but obviously the biggest in his young life, coming with 22:38 remaining in the game.
"That was a fantastic first-time finish," Bromagen said. "The kid is amazing. For a freshman to do that in a supersectional is insane."
Morton (21-1-1) obviously was thunderstruck, because before the Mustangs could regroup, Bromagen netted an insurance goal with 21:53 remaining.
"Right away (Bromagen) steps in and has a gorgeous highlight-worthy finish to put us up 2-0 and then you knew that this might happen," Konrad said. "The one goal, you're worried about making the giant angry. The second one, I think, obviously allowed us to be a little more calm."
Naperville North (19-2-3) didn't allow Morton many scoring chances, playing well over the field with a tremendous team effort.
"We just did so well in the air," Konrad said. "We dominated in the air in back, we got on every second ball and everything we've asked them to do all year, they've done."
They're still not done. They Huskies will travel to Hoffman Estates to play Bradley-Bourbonnais in the first state semifinal at 5 p.m. Friday.
The Huskies are in pursuit of their second state title. They won their first in 1998.