Girls soccer: Gianna Dal Pozzo’s hat trick lifts Neuqua Valley past GenevaAmanda Lulek (10) of Geneva heads the ball as Olivia Schmitt of Neuqua Valley watches. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 26, 2012 10:28PM
Neuqua Valley junior Gianna Dal Pozzo scored three goals in a span of just over two minutes of second half action as the No. 8 Wildcats defeated No. 14 Geneva 4-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Naperville Invitational.
It took Dal Pozzo just 2:07 to tally her first career hat trick and for the Wildcats to take complete control of the game played at Naperville Central.
“It was the greatest feeling ever,” said Dal Pozzo. “We had a lot of chances in the game. I just knew we had to finish them to get ahead, and that’s what I did.”
With the Wilcats trailing 2-1, Dal Pozzo took a pass from sophomore forward Olivia Schmitt and scored from 10 yards out to tie the game at 2-2 with 26:42 remaining in the second half.
Just 38 seconds later, Dal Pozzo gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead with a header after receiving a perfect corner entry from junior midfielder Hope D’Addario.
“We’ve been working on corners a lot and executing them, and Hope just played a great ball,” said Dal Pozzo. “I saw it coming over the defender so I was backing up and just came right through it and put it on the far post.”
The junior forward capped off her two-minute scoring binge with another goal assisted on by Schmitt. Dal Pozzo fired a laser from 10 yards out to put the Wildcats up 4-2 with 24:35 remaining in the second half.
Dal Pozzo’s hat trick was the Wildcats’ third straight, as Neuqua Valley junior Zoey Goralski had scored three goals in back-to-back games. Goralski scored the Wildcats’ first goal of the game seven minutes into the second half.
For Geneva (11-3-4), senior Catherine Allon scored both of the Vikings’ goals. Allon’s first goal came off a pass from junior Amanda Lulek late in the first half, and the Vikings went into halftime up 1-0 despite being outshot 14-6 in the first half.
“We worked hard. I can’t fault their effort, we just checked out in a panic for three minutes and it killed us, but you learn from it,” said Geneva coach Megan Owens. “We lost our focus for three minutes and that’s what the top teams like Neuqua are going to do to you.”
Neuqua Valley (13-3-2) will face undefeated Naperville North at 5 p.m. Friday at Naperville Central in a semifinal of the Naperville Invitational.