Girls Soccer: Naperville Central knocks out East Aurora in regional opener
Updated: May 15, 2012 10:04PM
The Naperville Central girls soccer program hasn’t won a sectional championship since 1995.
This year’s group has as good a shot as any to push through and the Redhawks took the first step with an 8-0 win against East Aurora on Tuesday evening in a Class 3A regional semifinal match played in Naperville.
“We just have to remained focused on the one game ahead of us, do our job and move on,” said Central senior midfielder Meredith McEniff, who led the Redhawks with three goals.
Central (20-1-2), which finished the regular-season at a school-best 19-1-2, advances to the regional championship where it will meet the winner of Lockport and Plainfield Central at 6 p.m. Friday at Central’s Memorial Stadium. The match was suspended and will be completed at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The Redhawks started fast thanks to a pair of goals, one each from Abby Joyce and Grace Orndorff in the first five minutes.
McEniff tallied the third, fifth and seventh goals while teammates Kristen Krebs, Maddie Thompson and Autumn Muckenhirn also scored as the match was shortened to 60 minutes because of the Illinois High School Association’s mercy rule. Coach Ed Watson played all 21 players who dressed.
McEniff said the Redhawks hope to build off the success other sports programs at Central have enjoyed, including the boys soccer team’s spurt to a second-place finish this past fall.
“It would mean a lot for all us to go on the same type of run that the boys did,” McEniff said. “We really want it. Central has done so well in all sports this year, so it would be nice to build off that momentum.”
The match marked the last for East Aurora coach Matt Shirk, who is moving out of state after the school year ends. Shirk led the Tomcats to a school-best five wins this season and nine in his three years on the job.
“This year we got thrown into the lions’ den right away (facing a team like Central),” said Shirk, whose team finished 5-13. “The girls knew we would have to defend and defend a lot, but then once you allow so many goals it is hard to stay focused. They girls didn’t quit, but talent took over.”
Shirk said that the team battled injuries after getting off to a fast start.
“The season was good, but it peaked in the middle instead of at the end,” he said.