Girls Soccer: Naperville North ousts Neuqua ValleyJillian Van Kampen (right) celebrates Naperville North with teammate Jen Korn (9) after her long kick scored a goal to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead over Neuqua Valley. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 23, 2012 9:26PM
Jillian Van Kampen was probably one of the last players anybody figured would score a game-winning goal in a big playoff game.
But that’s what the Naperville North junior defender did Wednesday, booming a 37-yard shot into the upper-left corner of the net to give the top-seeded Huskies a 2-1 victory over No. 4 seed Neuqua Valley at the Class 3A Naperville North Sectional semifinals.
Van Kampen’s goal, which gave the Huskies (20-1-2) the lead with 26:59 left in the second half, came from the left wing that sailed over Neuqua Valley goalie Courtney Keefer’s head and into the net.
It was the first goal of Van Kampen’s career and wasn’t even meant to be a shot.
“Honestly, I was going for a cross, so if you want to tell everyone that it was a shot, I will definitely take that,” Van Kampen said. “[Neuqua’s] Olivia [Schmitt] was marking me the entire time, so it was really hard for me to get that big ball in that I usually do, so when I saw an opportunity I kind of screamed for it and one-touched it and lucky shot, I guess.”
Freshman Abbie Boswell began the play when she saw that star striker Zoe Swift was covered and passed into the middle to Christa Szalach, who tapped the ball over to Van Kampen on the left wing. Van Kampen took advantage of a momentary opening created by the Wildcats’ attention to Swift, who along with Naperville North’s other top threats was held scoreless.
“Anything can happen in playoffs,” Swift said. “Jill had a great, great goal. It was just great placement.”
Naperville North coach Steve Goletz, whose team beat Neuqua Valley (16-5-2) for the third time this season and fourth time overall, was as surprised as anybody by Van Kampen’s goal.
“Jill has been such a great piece for our team this year and she often goes unnoticed,” Goletz said. “She serves balls consistently. She’s such a great attacking piece and I can’t be more happy for somebody. It’s a great time to get [your first goal].”
The Huskies had taken a 1-0 lead 3:28 into the game when Cora Climo scored off assists from Swift and Boswell, but the Wildcats tied it 10 minutes later when Gianna Dal Pozzo headed home a corner kick from Hope D’Addario.
But Naperville North’s defense of Van Kampen, Jen Korn, Anna Prescott and Kayla Sharples tightened up after that and goalie Allison Hitchcock had to make just two saves. The Wildcats had two last-gasp chances in the final minute on long free kicks from D’Addario, but the first went over the crossbar and the second was headed out as the buzzer sounded.
“We left everything on the field,” said Neuqua Valley coach Joe Moreau, who felt his squad was playing its best ball at the end of the season. “I felt we worked the ball around and played some really good soccer. [Van Kampen’s] goal was a great ball. I can’t blame anyone on that. That’s how the game is sometimes.”