Girls Soccer: Zoe Swift strikes twice, Naperville North back in final

Story Image Naperville North's Zoe Swift, left, kicks in her second goal of the game during their 3A State Semi-final game at North Central College in Naperville on Friday, June 1, 2012. North would go on to win 2-0. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: June 1, 2012 10:13PM

Zoe Swift is her sharpest critic who holds herself to very exacting standards. Glenbrook South was on the wrong side of her individual brilliance.

The star Naperville North junior forward scored twice in powering the top-ranked Huskies to an impressive 2-0 victory over No. 5 Glenbrook South in a Class 3A semifinal Friday at North Central College in Naperville.

The win snapped the Titans’ 15-game winning streak and propelled the Huskies (23-1-2) to their second consecutive state final appearance. “The girls are back to where we wanted to be at the start of the season,” first-year coach Steve Goletz said. “We have some unfinished business.’’

Naperville North lost to 1-0 to Granite City in last year’s final.

Most impressively, the Huskies broke through despite going into the teeth of a harsh wind. “You had to really overstrike the ball, or the ball would just flutter,” Swift said.

She put the Huskies in the driver’s seat after she took a through ball from senior defender Jen Korn and blasted a left-footed drive that floated and curled beyond the grasp of Titans keeper Emma Sailer in the 25th minute.

“Jen gave me a great ball, and I was able to make a play,” Swift said. “At the start of the game, they did a great job of putting a lot of people in the back and that frustrated me. They were very tough on the ball, and you have to give them credit for that.”

Psychologically, Korn said the Huskies benefited from playing into the wind the first half. “We can always count on Zoe to put one in,” Korn said. “It was better to play into the wind at the start, because we were nervous at the start, it’s a big game, and once we got the first goal, we really loosened up after that.”

Playing with the wind in the second half, Naperville North put the hammer down. They dominated possession and shots on goal. Sailer made a great stab to deny North’s Cora Climo.

Swift had two prime scoring chances, with one hitting off the post. She put the game away in the 61st minute with a spectacular play. She controlled a loose ball in the center of the field, split two defenders and drove 30 yards before finishing with a sharp ball into the far post.

The two goals gave her 25 on the season. She has back-to-back two goal games.

The Northwestern-bound Korn is Swift’s defensive opposite. She squeezes the field and shuts opponents down. Glenbrook South (21-5-4) managed only four shot attempts.

Its best scoring chance occurred just after Swift’s second goal. Junior midfielder Carolyn Nash was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Her shot skimmed left of the post. Korn helped quiet Titans junior forward April Cronin, who entered with 26 goals.

“We didn’t know a lot about them, and we didn’t play any common opponents, but we knew they were hot coming in and we knew who their main goal scorers were,” Korn said. “We just didn’t want to make them comfortable in space.”

Glenbrook South coach Seong Ha called the game a barometer for the Titans, who’d won 18 of their last 19 games. “Soccer’s a game of chances and opportunities, and we had two defensive breakdowns,” he said. “Zoe’s the real deal. I’d coached against her in club, and I knew how special she was, but still, you have to go out and do it.

“Tonight, it was Zoe two, Glenbrook South zero.”

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