Girls Soccer: Naperville North advances to state for second straight season

Updated: May 29, 2012 8:32PM

Naperville North’s girls soccer team had to take the scenic route to earn the right to play in this weekend’s Class 3A state tournament across town at North Central College, but the Huskies didn’t mind the ride.

North cruised two hours south to the Class 3A Normal Supersectional and easily handled downstate Collinsville, 4-1, to advance to state for the second straight season. The Huskies will face Glenbrook South in Friday’s 5 p.m. state semifinal.

“(Coach Steve Goletz) told us on the way here that coming back with a win will feel so much better than going back two hours with a loss,” Naperville North junior Zoe Swift said. “We took that into consideration for sure.”

The Huskies (22-1-2) dominated offensively all night, but only held a 2-1 lead at the half. A corner kick from Cora Climo led to Hunter Drendel’s pass to Kayla Sharples for the first goal with 24:50 left in the half. A long cross from Jillian Van Kampen was then headed in by Swift to open a 2-0 lead with 11:05 left in the half.

But the Huskies’ nine other shots on goal were turned away by Collinsville keeper Tayler Pulvirenti and Kahoks junior Kat Roe put in a free kick from 35 yards out with 6:06 left in the half to cut the lead to 2-1.

“Soccer is a tough sport,” Swift said. “You can dominate for almost a whole game and not put enough in. I know our goals weren’t going in at first, but we couldn’t get frustrated. We had to move on in the playoffs.”

North had more chances than Collinsville (18-4-2) in the second half and finally cashed in late to put the game away and clear the bench. After Huskies keeper Allison Hitchcock made a great save of a Roe shot, Christa Szalach scored off a Climo corner kick with 12:40 left and 1:15 later Swift made a nice move after Abbie Boswell played the ball in to score her 23rd goal of the season and start the celebration.

“I didn’t think we were going to shut this team out,” Goletz said. “Sure enough, they got one and I think we responded pretty well as a group. As a coach, (the two late goals) were a huge sigh of relief. We stepped up and made a couple of great plays there, but that’s what you have to do in the playoffs, especially against good teams.”

Now the Huskies return to Naperville for the weekend, hoping to win the second state title in program history after settling for second place last spring.

“I wasn’t with them last year, but I know how hard they work and how much they wanted to get back there,” Goletz said. “It’s special to get back-to-back seasons of being downstate, it truly is. Obviously we’re not satisfied with just getting down there. We want to finish what we didn’t finish last year as a program and as a school. Let’s hope these girls can step up and do that.”

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