Don’t count out Naperville North
Updated: June 1, 2011 10:59PM
Zoe Swift and Naperville North derailed Neuqua Valley’s perfect season and picked up a sectional title for their troubles.
They followed that up with a win over No. 3 York and supersectional title.
On Friday, the Huskies will have their chance to punch their ticket to the Class 3A state title game. And at this point, it would be a mistake to underestimate them – if only because Swift and her teammates don’t like being discounted.
“We knew we were the underdog team, not a lot of expectations from us,” Swift said. “Everyone at school was like, ‘Ah, we don’t know if you guys are going to win.’ But we are going to shove it in their faces and kick everyone’s butt.”
Swift (12 goals), Christa Szalach (13 goals) and the defensive core of Jamie Meno, Adrienne Schertz and Kirsten Anderson have Naperville North in the state semifinals for the first time since 2004.
The No. 7 Huskies (17-5-1), who last won a state title in 1988, will play No. 4 Conant (20-4) at 5 p.m. Friday in a Class 3A semifinal at Naperville Central.
Courtney Raetzman (22 goals, 15 assists), one of the area’s best juniors, and senior goalie Lindsay Fillingim (14 shutouts) the Cougars, who lost 2-0 to the Huskies on April 28.
No. 5 Fremd (18-3-2) plays Granite City (18-6) in the other Class 3A semifinal at 7 p.m.
Senior forward Elise Kotsakis (35 goals) – who scored in the 2009 Class 3A state-title game as a sophomore – has had a phenomenal season in leading the Vikings to their third semifinal appearance in five years.
“[Winning a state title] would mean the world to her and would be a good way to go out her senior year,” Fremd coach Steve Keller said. “She hasn’t said anything, but it’s written all over her face. There’s a tenacity about her, a fight that you can’t match.”
The Vikings are seeking their first state title after finishing second twice (2007 and 2009) in the past four seasons.
In Class 2A, Wheaton Academy (15-6) plays Troy Triad (20-2-1) in a semifinal at 1 p.m.
Juniors Crystal Thomas and Ally Witt are two of nine players for the Warriors – who won the inaugural Class 2A title in 2009 – that are making their third consecutive appearance in the state semifinals.
Wheaton Academy will have to contend with the Knights’ Illinois State recruit Rachel Tejada (38 goals, 19 assists). The Warriors also have a 2-5 record on artificial turf this season.
Marian Central (19-9) plays Lemont (22-4) in the other Class 2A semifinal at 11 a.m.
Susan Thomas (21 goals) netted a hat trick in a 4-0 supersectional victory over Lakes to lead the Hurricanes, who have outscored opponents 21-1 in the playoffs, to the first state-tournament appearance in program history.
Freshman forward Kim Jerantowski and freshman goalie Kelly Fritz lead the Indians, who have not allowed a goal in five playoff games.
Contributing: Matt Le Cren