Naperville North rights ship, beats Bolingbrook with Chris Ensign

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Naperville North senior Chris Ensign first used his legs to hurt Bolingbrook.

Then he used his arms.

Ensign scored the first goal of Friday’s Class 3A Naperville North Regional title game with a 17-yard rocket on the run in the first half, then heaved two long throw-ins that set up goals in the second half as the host Huskies knocked off Bolingbrook 3-0.

Naperville North (14-4-3), which will play either top-seeded Naperville Central or West Aurora in Tuesday’s Bolingbrook Sectional semifinals, extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games and won its ninth regional championship in the past 10 years.

“Every once in a while, all the parts come together and we just click,” said Naperville North sophomore midfielder Chris Sullivan, who had a goal and an assist. “That’s what we’re doing right now. We’re hot and we’re excited about the next game.”

Sullivan set up Ensign’s sixth goal of the year with a lead pass up the right wing to the streaking striker, who blasted a shot into the far corner of the net with 30:54 left in the first half.

“[Sullivan] played a great ball through and then I just kind of took it in,” Ensign said. “[Naperville North coaches Steve] Goletz and [Jim] Konrad were yelling ‘at ‘em, at ‘em,’ so I shot and found the back of the net.”

With that, the fourth-seeded Huskies found their mojo after a dicey first few minutes. The 12th-seeded Raiders — who had eliminated fifth-seeded Plainfield South 2-1 on penalty kicks in the first round and, like the Huskies, were riding a seven-game winning streak — had a golden opportunity in the second minute.

A cross from the left wing found junior Erick Gonzalez behind the Huskies’ defense, but Gonzalez’s seven-yard shot went over the crossbar an instant before he collided with hard-charging Naperville North goalkeeper Christian Robert.

When Ensign scored eight minutes later, the complexion of the game changed.

“It’s always huge to get the momentum change,” Ensign said. “Once you put the first one in, hopefully you can get another one and keep going.”

The Huskies did exactly that, scoring twice in a four-minute span of the second half. Ensign’s long throw from the right wing sailed over the traffic in front of the Bolingbrook net to Brandon Hipp, who scored on a far-post header with 29:39 remaining.

The third goal was triggered by Ensign’s toss from the left side. This time Hipp got a touch on it and nudged it to Sullivan, who made a couple of fancy dribbles before scoring from five yards out.

“He’s incredible,” Sullivan said of Ensign. “Whenever the ball goes out, it’s a threat to the goal.”

The Raiders (17-5-3), who tied the school record for victories and were attempting to win their first regional crown since 1992, had several threats from distance, but Robert came up with five saves in the second half to record his ninth shutout.

“It’s hard with the feelings right now,” Bolingbrook coach Jamie Clemmons said. “They were better [Friday]. They’re just a better team. We might be a sectional champion [anywhere else].

“I’m proud of [the Raiders]. We’ve spent a long time building up the program and we put a quality product on the field.”

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