Girls Soccer: Abby Joyce’s goal fuels Naperville Central past New TrierJessie Berman (left) of New Trier kicks the ball toward Meredith McEniff of Naperville Central. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 26, 2012 10:22PM
Naperville Central may lack a big-time goal scorer, but that hasn’t stopped the Redhawks from finding a way to win.
They did it again Thursday, figuring out a way to solve New Trier’s stingy defense to pull out a 1-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the Naperville Invitational.
Sophomore Abby Joyce potted the game’s only goal at the 23:59 mark of the first half off an assist from Grace Orndorff and the Redhawks’ defense made it stand up to extend the hosts’ winning streak to eight games.
“I think it’s just our intensity up top,” Joyce said. “We always talk to each other. We always try to read the defense because today we saw the opportunities weak side were available, so we tried to take advantage of that as much as possible.”
That’s how Naperville Central (15-1-1) found the back of the net. Orndorff sent a perfect long ball from the right wing over the head of a defender to Joyce in the box. Joyce then muscled a shot past New Trier goalie Emma Schaff.
“That was a great serve,” Naperville Central coach Ed Watson said. “And Abby had great composure and finished nicely second touch.”
After shedding a defender, Joyce was immediately confronted by Schaff but knew what she wanted to do.
“At that point I wanted to stay real calm and I knew that [Schaff] was cover the post near post where I was, so I just tried to go weak side,” Joyce said. “[Getting through to the semifinals] is awesome, seeing as it’s at our place and it’s our tournament. We really want to win.”
New Trier (14-2) had two great chances to get the equalizer in the first half, but a 30-yard free kick by Rachel Schellenback went just over the crossbar at the 19:05 mark and Naperville Central goalie Jill D’Amico made a great dive to her right to parry Schellenback’s 23-yard drive with :08 left in the half.
The visitors never sniffed the goal in the second half as the Redhawks dominated the midfield and D’Amico had to make only one of her three saves after the break to record Central’s 10th clean sheet.
“Jill had the big save at the end of the half,” Watson said. “Once again she didn’t have to make a lot of saves but she certainly earned the shutout today.”