Granite City blanks Huskies in 3A finalNaperville North's Zoe Swift (left) battles Granity City defender Amber Cholevik during the Class 3A state championship at Naperville Central High School in Naperville, Ill., on Saturday, June 4, 2011.
(Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media)
Updated: June 4, 2011 10:33PM
It was a painful first for Naperville North and the sectional the Huskies represented.
Granite City’s Kaitlin Becherer scored her only goal of the season 23 seconds before halftime and Halley Robertson made three saves – including a stellar stop with less than five minutes to play – to lift the Warriors to a 1-0 victory Saturday over Naperville North for the Class 3A state championship at Naperville Central.
“I was really nervous,” Becherer said. “But I was on the sideline about to get subbed in right before it happened and coach (Skip Birdsong) was like, ‘We need a goal before this half is over.’ So I felt it coming and took the shot.”
The victory for Granite City (20-6) ends a run of four consecutive large-school state titles for the team that has won the Naperville-area sectional.
“I think we owed it to our sectional to try and win state since we come from this so-called ‘sectional-of-death,’ ” said Huskies defender Kirsten Anderson, whose team knocked off several ranked opponents, including a previously undefeated Neuqua Valley side to finish second for the first time since 1998.
Becherer’s goal was only the second allowed by the Huskies (18-6-1) in the playoffs and was the first time Naperville North trailed in the postseason.
“We definitely weren’t used to being down,” Naperville North defender Jamie Meno said. “All the time in the playoffs, we were the ones to get up first. It’s hard not to put our heads down, but we played the full 80 minutes and I’m proud over every single person on this team.”
Goalie Abby Green had three saves for Naperville North, which was shooting for the second state title in program history and first since 1988, the inaugural season for girls soccer as an IHSA sport.
Hunter Drendel came agonizingly close to scoring for the Huskies with 4:45 left in the second when she unleashed a shot from 10 yards that Robertson had to push up into the air before corralling the rebound.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our group,” Terada said. “They worked hard, they battled and created opportunities and that’s the way soccer goes. We did (the same thing) to a couple teams along the way.”