Boys soccer: Naperville Central cruises into regional final
Joey LoDuca played a highly conspicuous role for Naperville Central Tuesday evening.
Matt Driessens' late-afternoon was not nearly as flashy but certainly equally notable for the Redhawks' boys soccer team.
Naperville Central, seeded third in the Class 3A Plainfield North sectional complex, dominated play to conclude the first half and begin the second as LoDuca had two highlight-reel goals from a considerable distance away to pace the Redhawks' 6-1 victory.
The Redhawks (13-7-1) will face No. 6 East Aurora, the regional host which dispatched No. 11 Wheaton Warrenville South, 4-0, Friday afternoon in Aurora for the championship.
Waubonsie Valley, seeded No. 15, ended its year at 6-14-2.
"The first half is setting the tone and the second half is re-establishing it," Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said. "Joey had an incredible shot on both of them. He is a very dangerous player on top. We stress the first five (minutes) of the half and last five."
Nathan Kwon opened the scoring in the 10th minute for the Redhawks, but the match was utterly decided in an 18-minute span bridging the first two halves.
The Redhawks' Josh Weigel doubled the Naperville Central lead with a brilliant chip shot to an indefensible position with just under nine minutes before the intermission.
LoDuca then became the star attraction.
The junior forward rifled home 30-plus-yard goals to not only end the first half but also begin the second-half.
A missed opportunity midway through the first half was the catalyst.
"Even if you miss a shot, it's just motivation," LoDuca said. "It's like a drive to take more shots after that. I saw there was a gap (on the second goal). I shot it right away."
As prolific as the Redhawks' offense was, their defense was on shutdown mode as well.
"We always practice defending in pairs," said Driessens, whom Adams cited as the ringleader from his center-back position. "We just communicated and had our men at all times."
The final three scores of the contest all came on brilliant collaborations that resulted in stunning headers for goals.
Following the consecutive LoDuca goals, the Warriors' keeper once again had no chance to stop the carnage as Patrick Bohan lifted a 25-yard floater that Carter Adams finished with aplomb.
Adams then connected with Benjamin Tietjen for another point-blank headshot moments later for the final Naperville Central goal.
"Goals are such a finicky thing in soccer," Adams said. "They come, or they don't."
The Warriors had a final consolation prize for their season.
Angel Gallegos' brilliant cross off a corner kick enabled Waubonsie Valley to avoid a whitewash as senior Anuj Buch headed it home with perfection.
"Ever since we were scoreless, I have had that drive," Buch said. "I told Angel I was going to put it in the top of the net. He did a wonderful job."