Boys Soccer: Naperville Central advances to 3A state
Updated: November 1, 2011 8:52PM
NORMAL — The way Quincy goalie Logan Kelle snared nearly every Naperville Central shot Tuesday night, you’d have thought he was wearing a Spiderman costume leftover from Halloween under his jersey.
Kelle made the job tough on the Redhawks, but Naperville Central used a little luck and a lot of skill to get past his web of saves and win 2-0 in the IHSA Class 3A Normal Supersectional.
The victory puts the Redhawks (18-4) in Friday’s state semifinal at Lincoln-Way East against Fremd (16-5-2), and provides their first trip to the state tournament in 23 years.
“None of them were born, and I was 12,” Redhawks’ coach Troy Adams said. “I can’t put it into words. It still hasn’t sunk in.”
With just 11 minutes remaining in the first half, Naperville Central forward Greg Burdett headed home a ball from the middle of the 6-yard box after one of his players and a Blue Devils’ defender popped an unintentional endline pass into a spot where Kelle was not positioned to defend.
“I had an idea of where it was going, but I didn’t know it was going exactly where I was,” said Burdett, who snuck between two defenders. “I got lucky, but the main thing is when you get chances you have to put it in the back of net and giving your team the lead.”
Kelle finished with eight saves and just his second loss of the year for Quincy (23-3), as the Redhawks pounded out 21 shots with 12 on frame.
“I’d rank him in the top three keepers we’ve faced,” Burdett said. “We had to shoot away from him. We couldn’t depend on a mistake. He did his job really well, but I think we adjusted.”
With the lead and a strong wind at their backs entering the second half, Naperville Central stayed ultra-aggressive, continually playing balls down to its forwards and taking regular shots.
Redhawks’ keeper Mike Pavliga did the rest whenever Quincy got off a good shot, recording eight saves.
“We had our chances and didn’t play up to our capability, but they have a lot to do with that,” Blue Devils’ coach Matt Longo said. “They’re big, they’re strong, they win a lot of headballs. We knew we had to keep the ball on our feet.”
The Redhawks got the breathing room they needed when sophomore forward Jay Tegge turned quickly from 20 yards on the right side and deposited a shot over Kelle with just seven minutes left.
“It was a relief,” Tegge said. “I had one in the first half off the crossbar, but we just kept working our butts off. Finally got one, found an opening and hit it.”
Considering the teams the Redhawks have beaten this year, including top-ranked Naperville North, they still feel they have to prove their worthy of the position they’re in. And they can taste it.
“We’re not done and anything is possible at this point,” Burdett said. “We want two more wins and we’re there. At this point, it’s unfamiliar for everybody including some of the coaches, but we’re just trying to make a mark for the program and let everyone know we’re a good team.”