Naperville North tops Neuqua on late goalNeuqua Valley defender Paarth Joshi (left) and Naperville North forward Zach Peterson battle for possession at Naperville North High School in Naperville, Ill., on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011.
| Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
On the roster, Naperville North senior Nanad Komljenovic is listed as a defender.
Seldom used last season, Komljenovic netted his first career goal a week ago.
He found the perfect time Tuesday evening to record his second, using a leaping header on a right cross by senior Joe Sullivan in the 56th minute to give the Huskies a 1-0 win over visiting Neuqua Valley in the Best of the West Tournament.
“It’s been a good year so far,” Komljenovic said. “It feels good. The way we played (poorly) to tie Oswego East, we came out and fought hard, went through all the plays, ran through every ball, and I was just happy to be there at the right time.”
After peppering the Wildcats’ goal throughout the first half but getting stopped on every ricochet and tip, Sullivan found some space on the right side of the box and crossed to the left side of goal where Komljenovic was unmarked. He calmly headed the ball down into the ground to the left of keeper Hunter Hollingshead, but too many missed opportunities had North coach Jim Konrad’s eye.
“We’re having trouble executing in the final third,” Konrad said. “The back looked good, the midfield worked pretty hard, we just struggled to find the back of the net. We had a number of chances in the first half. Now it just comes down to individual execution. At some point, someone has to make a trap and finish and we just hadn’t been able to do that this year.”
North goalie Kevin Anderson was solid, but had little work to do because of a nonexistent Wildcats’ offense.
“We don’t have any skill and we don’t have any athleticism,” Neuqua coach Tony Kees said. “And then our soccer smarts are lacking, too, so you’re 0-for-3. The best thing you can do is try to destroy the game for the other team. We can’t pass the ball from A to B. We can’t run, so hopefully we can defend a little.”
Kees said he was “just being honest,” but hoped Neuqua (1-1-1) can put something together by the end of the season to have a little fun.
North (2-0-1) is without star forward Evan Trychta for at least another week while he recovers from an injury. It didn’t matter.
“They’re an awesome team and they’re not even at full strength,” Kees said. “There was only one team on the field tonight.”