Girls Water Polo: Dominant ‘D’ keys Naperville Central win over Mother McAuley
Updated: May 18, 2012 7:58PM
Any thoughts that Naperville Central’s girls water polo team was thinking about last year’s upset loss to Stevenson in the state quarterfinals heading into Friday’s quarterfinal game were quickly squashed by coach Jeff Plackett.
“I think last year was in their heads from the end of May (2011) to the beginning of March this year,” Plackett said. “These girls put in some serious effort in the off-season.”
Since that disappointment a year ago, the Redhawks have been arguably the most dominant team in the state, and they showed that off in Friday’s 7-2 win over Mother McAuley. Central’s three stars all showed up. Abbey Kerth scored three goals, Julia Campbell stopped 13 shots in net and Emily Sejna was dominant defensively.
The win puts the Redhawks in Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. semifinal against St. Ignatius.
“We played really well,” Kerth said. “We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but once we got going we played really well. We had to get our offense going. But throughout the game, we were playing great defense. We were playing really smart.”
Central (32-2) was up only 3-1 at the half thanks in part to a pair of Kerth goals. But a three-goal third quarter that featured goals from Kerth (who has 128 goals this season), Sejna and Emily Reagan pushed the lead to 6-2.
With the defensive pressure and Campbell’s brilliance in net, it was tough for Mother McAuley (25-8-1) to get back into the game. Vicky Arciniega and Kristen Kleist scored the goals for the Mighty Macs.
“We were doing what we were supposed to be doing offensively, we were just missing the net a lot,” McAuley coach Vanessa Carroll said. “We had a lot of opportunities on offense. They have a fantastic goalie. A lot of them were to her, but she blocked a lot of shots.”
The Redhawks will face a team they have not seen yet this season in St. Ignatius in the semifinals Saturday, but the obstacle of getting past the quarterfinals is now in the rear-view mirror.
“Today was definitely business,” Kerth said. “That was our plan. We just played smart and got through tonight and we’re ready for two games tomorrow.”