Girls Water Polo: Defense keys Naperville North victory
Updated: May 10, 2012 9:05PM
Naperville North’s girls water polo team focused its attention on the defensive end in Thursday’s Metea Valley Sectional quarterfinal against Hinsdale Central, knowing that the offense would come.
The second-seeded Huskies spent a grand total of 45 seconds trailing after the seventh-seeded Red Devils scored the first goal, but they gained control from there and cruised to a 12-3 win. The win sends the Huskies into Friday’s 8:15 p.m. semifinal against third-seeded Metea Valley.
“The girls spent a lot of time on defense and focusing on defense,” North coach Andy McWhirter said. “The offense will happen. But as these games get tougher, we’ve got to focus on our defense. The girls did an awesome job on defense.”
Napervile North (22-9) went on a 10-1 run after surrendering the first goal of the game. Audrey Chen scored three goals in that span, while freshman Jillian Eiken and Emily Ault each scored a pair. That offense was a direct result of the stifling defense that held Hinsdale Central (13-16) to only three goals in the game, two of which were scored by Sarah Pircon.
“Our defense leads to our offense every time,” Chen said. “We did a lot of different things. Sometimes I drove, sometimes you saw Taylor Bridgman drive, you saw Jillian and Sofi (Prorok) battling. That was definitely a huge advantage for us.”
In order to get a crack at one of the state’s top teams, and the Huskies’ main rival, top-seeded Naperville Central, in Saturday’s sectional championship game, they will have to get past Metea in its own pool Friday. The two teams split their two regular season matches. Metea beat North by one when two Huskies were missing on college visits and North won the second game.
“Metea is a strong team,” McWhirter said. “They have a couple of girls on their team who are fantastic shooters from the outside. They have some speed. We were playing a little conservative with our speed tonight. We’ll have to step it up tomorrow with Metea because they have some speed and talent.”