Girls Soccer: Katherine Short’s goal stands up for Naperville Central
Updated: April 27, 2012 10:10PM
Katherine Short was the most dangerous player on the field, a stealth figure who made the game’s biggest play.
The Naperville Central senior midfielder smashed in a shot in the 74th minute to propel the host No. 4 Redhawks past No. 6 Barrington 1-0 in the second semifinal of the Naperville Invite Friday night.
The victory created the first-ever all-Naperville final as top-ranked Naperville North and the Redhawks square off Saturday at noon. The teams play their regular-season DuPage Valley conference game Thursday night at Naperville North.
Short scored her ninth goal of the season, already equaling her total from a year ago. She drilled a left-footed ball from the left side of the box. She also initiated the sequence of events leading to the goal by directing a corner kick moments earlier.
The original corner was deflected into a crowd.
“Maddie Thompson made a great cross and Abby Joyce made a great play to get the ball over to me and I was able to volley it in from there,” Short said. “I think because it started out as a corner, and I made the corner, they didn’t really notice me and that’s why I was able to sneak in and be so wide open on the shot.”
The Redhawks (16-1-1) captured their ninth consecutive victory and posted their 11th shut out of the year. Naperville Central dominated the second half in a match kept close by the superb play of Barrington star freshman keeper Hannah Luedtke.
Luedtke entered the match with a remarkable stretch of nine shutouts in the Fillies’ last 10 games. Barrington’s only loss during that stretch was a 1-0 defeat against No. 11 Hersey on Wednesday.
A day after knocking out previously undefeated Rockford Boylan 1-0 in overtime, the Fillies (12-5) could not sustain the energy. Barrington failed to record a shot on goal. Even so, the Fillies maintained possession most of the first half.
That momentum changed decisively in the second half. Aided by the swirling wind at their backs in the second half, Naperville Central played the aggressor after the break. Joyce had two great scoring chances negated by spectacular diving stops by Luedtke, who had six of her seven stops in the second half.
“I think in the second half we got our [midfielders] out wide and we got some good runs and we were able to apply the pressure,” Short said.
Barrington was playing its fourth game in five days and seventh in the last 10. It beat No. 13 Schaumburg, the only team to beat the Redhawks this year, 2-0 on Monday. Coach Ryan Stengren said the problem was not fatigue but Naperville Central’s repeated re-starts. “We just gave up too many corner kicks and we fouled too much in the second half,” he said. “We have to tighten up our backline. In that second half, they had us on our heels the whole time.”
Naperville Central coach Ed Watson also acknowledged the symbolic importance of the corner. The Redhawks attempted six of their seven corner kicks in the second half. “That’s a good sign that you are creating scoring opportunities,” he said. “That’s a very good team that has played a lot of very good teams this week — Hersey, Schaumburg and Boylan.
“But I think you also saw tonight that we are a team and not a collection of individuals, and that’s what helped us get that goal.”