Swift lifts Naperville North past Waubonsie Valley

SHARE Swift lifts Naperville North past Waubonsie Valley
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Zoe Swift caught Waubonsie Valley on the rebound.

The Naperville North star scored twice on rebound shots, the second on a spectacular effort with 3:53 remaining, to lift the top-ranked Huskies to a 2-1 victory over No. 2 Waubonsie Valley in Friday’s Class 3A Bolingbrook Sectional title game.

The Kentucky-bound Swift, who earlier this week was named the Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year, now has scored 15 goals this season, five of which have come in the past two games.

“That’s what’s so special,” Naperville North coach Steve Goletz said. “You need goal scorers and I fortunately have two of them that continue to put balls in the net. [Sophomore Abbie Boswell] struggled a little bit today but obviously Zoe steps up and does a phenomenal job for the second game in a row and that’s obviously why we’re moving on.”

The Warriors (19-4-1), who saw their 11-game winning streak snapped, completely shut down Boswell, who has 27 goals, and limited Swift to just four shots.

But the senior somehow got free when it mattered most. With the game tied at 1-1, Naperville North’s Cora Climo blasted a 35-yard free kick on frame. Waubonsie Valley goalie Emma Rigby leaped to deflect the ball into the crossbar, but before anyone else could react, Swift slid in near the left post and poked it into the roof of the goal with her left foot.

“Zoe’s just a great all-around athlete and soccer player,” Climo said. “She’s just got the soccer smarts. She always knows where to go on the field and she works so hard to get there. We know she always finds a way to get it done and she’s a huge part of our team.”

Swift said the Warriors had her marked tightly on the play.

“There was a defender right by me,” Swift said. “She had me and I just got a better foot on it and it went to the top of the goal. I was just happy it went in.”

Swift was also in the right place at the right time when she scored the game’s first goal with 32:58 left in the opening half on another rebound. This time Emily Bromagen fired a 40-yard shot that bounced over the head of Rigby (seven saves), hit the crossbar and caromed back to Swift, who alertly headed the ball in.

It was the second time in as many games Swift has scored with her head, which is not one of her strengths.

“A lot of people don’t follow the ball after [a shot], which is what our coach always preaches about, so when we do we actually score a goal,” Swift said. “Just like the Neuqua game, that one time I was free, I found an opportunity and I’m glad I finished it.”

So was Goletz, because the defending state champion Huskies (19-0-2), who extended their unbeaten streak to 32, were outplayed for much of the match by the Warriors, who tied the game at the 25:14 mark of the second half when freshman Paige Filipek scored on a power header from five yards out off a corner kick by Kristen Brots.

The Warriors had three more corner kicks in the final seven minutes, but each time Swift headed the crosses out of danger.

“Waubonsie is an unbelievable team and they definitely outplayed us today for large stretches of it but our girls battled,” Goletz said. “I thought defensively we did a very nice job. We didn’t give up a goal in the run of play. To hold a team like that off the scoreboard in the run of play says something about our back line.”

“Our kids played well,” Waubonsie Valley coach Julie Bergstrom said. “Our kids tried to play soccer and tried to move the ball and get the goal. Unfortunately it bounced off the crossbar and they put in a rebound.”

Even the Huskies acknowledged that the Warriors outplayed them for the most part.

“Oh, they did. There’s no question about that,” Swift said. “They dominated most of the game and I will give them credit for that. Somehow we still came out with a win.”

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