Girls Soccer: Zoey Swift’s goal keeps top-ranked Naperville North unbeatenElena Sidwell (54) of Metea Valley is sandwiched by Abby Mangefrida (12) and Emily Bromagan (20) of Naperville North. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 24, 2012 11:09PM
It was the kind of direct confrontation that the best sports are build on as a great offensive player matched one-on-one against a talented defender.
Score one for the offense.
Naperville North junior forward Zoey Swift broke loose in the middle of the field off a through ball from freshman forward Abbie Boswell and smashed a ball past Metea Valley keeper Megan Geldernick in the 19th minute as the top-ranked Huskies eased past the No. 3 Mustangs 1-0 Tuesday night in Aurora.
“She was playing me to go more right and so I was able to go left across her body and it slipped in,” Swift said after scoring her 14th goal of the year.
“She’s a great scoring forward and I was in an awkward position and the ball got through,” Geldernick said.
Otherwise, the junior keeper was astounding, repeatedly denying the Huskies with a series of blocks, deflections and grabs. She finished with nine saves.
“We knew we had to get a lot of shots off because she’s a very talented keeper,” Naperville North senior defender Jen Korn said. “The more shots we got off, the more likely we were to score.”
Naperville North (13-0) opened the game with blistering pressure. The Huskies had four shots on goal in the opening minutes. Swift was frustrated but not bowed by Geldernick’s repeated ability to deflect up close shots. “I wanted more than one goal, but the shots weren’t really falling.”
The Huskies broke through midway through the first half as Boswell controlled the ball and advanced it on the ground to Swift. The electric and versatile Swift did the rest.
The host Mustangs (13-3) suffered their second consecutive 1-0 loss to an elite team, falling by the same margin to No. 2 Loyola in Saturday’s Pepsi Showdown semifinals. All three of their losses have been by the same score.
“I thought in the second half we really played well, but we have to do more in the attacking third,” Metea Valley coach Pat Feulner said. “We had a couple of chances but we just froze.”
With Geldernick keeping the game close, the Mustangs engineered several prime scoring chances of their own. Star senior midfielder Kristina Tomaras had two shots that skipped the top of the crossbar and landed on the netting.
Senior North keeper Allison Hitchcock recorded five saves of her own, including a diving stop of Tomaras in the 60th minute.
Korn, Naperville North’s star Northwestern-bound defender, said the Huskies worked hard to close off space and deny Tomaras an angle of attack. “We knew she could shoot from a distance, so we made a big effort to close down space, pinch back and not let her get free,” Korn said.
“Metea’s a very good team, with a great keeper and a very explosive attack, but I have a lot of confidence in our defense.”