Girls Soccer: Naperville Central wins clash with Neuqua Valley
Updated: April 14, 2012 10:30PM
Beyond the two goals that No. 9 Naperville Central scored on Saturday, the Redhawks had something else that No. 5 Neuqua Valley didn’t:
The pedal-to-the-floor, high-energy work rate that top soccer teams rely upon.
“They had a lot more energy than we did and they definitely outplayed us,” Neuqua Valley coach Joe Moreau said.
Second-half goals from Autumn Muckenhirn and Katherine Short provided the difference in a 2-0 win for Naperville Central (10-1-1), which kept the intensity high and kept Neuqua Valley (8-3-2) out of net thanks to a fine job in the air from midfielders Meredith McEniff and Maddie Thompson, and a backline that held Neuqua’s dangerous forwards at bay.
“Zoey Goralski and Olivia Schmitt are so fast and they have such good foot skills,” Naperville Central defender Grace Orndorff said. “So in practice we worked on covering for each other, so that even if one of them got through us — which was a good possibility, since they’re so fast — we were able to back each other up. We were always ready for them.”
The Redhawks handled a Neuqua team with the wind at its back through 40 minutes, with the most dangerous chance of the half coming when the Wildcats’ Gianna Dal Pozzo sent a head shot just high of the frame.
Abby Joyce was a workhorse up the left side for Central in the second half, and was rewarded for that work with assists on both goals scored. Joyce centered a ball to Muckenhirn at 49 minutes, and the junior took a touch to her right along the top of the penalty area and blistered a shot to the upper ninety at the far post.
Joyce fed Short at 60 minutes, and Short struck a ball well and sent it far post again to give Central its 2-0 lead. And with Central defenders Orndorff, Alyssa Angelo, Meredith Tunney, Carly Franzese, and Sabrina Cisneros thwarting everything and keeper Jill D’Amico handling every ball from distance, Central rode that lead to the final buzzer.
“I’m really proud of the girls. We’ve been challenging them to be that team all the time and now we’ve put two games together where they’ve been the type of team we hoped they could be,” Central coach Ed Watson said.