Time and again Kristen Dodson created an electric moment only to see a deflection, a slightly off-line shot or a daring save by Naperville North keeper Fiona Baenziger.
In the 46th minute her best opportunity availed itself and her persistence was not going to be denied.
The Waubonsie Valley senior forward blasted in a rebound that catapulted the streaking No. 9 Warriors past the No. 10 Huskies 2-0 Friday night in Naperville.
The goal by the Auburn recruit broke the scoreless deadlock and allowed Waubonsie Valley (6-1-3) a profound sense of relief. The Warriors controlled possession time and generated far more effective scoring chances before at last breaking through.
“It was a great time effort, the result of a lot of people doing their job,” Dodson said.
The scoring sequence originated off a Mackenzie Fuller free kick from the center of the field that freshman Maggie Roe controlled and drilled the first touch that Baenziger blocked and Dodson was perfectly positioned for the rebound.
“Our coach (Julie Bergstrom) said to put pressure on the ball, go hard to the ball and then win it,” Dodson said. “I feel like possession is where we are at our best, and you cannot get goals if you don’t have possessions.”
Dodson’s left-footed blast from the left sideline in the 16th minute constituted the best scoring chance first half.
The dominant possession enabled the Warriors to develop a superior offensive rhythm and deny the Huskies many extended possessions of their own.
The victory marked a reversal for the Warriors. Naperville North edged Waubonsie Valley in the sectional final last year en route to its second consecutive Clas 3A state championship.
“This was a big deal for the seniors,” Dodson said. “We know they are a great team, and this is my first time in four years that we beat them.”
Dodson also made a crucial defensive maunever by clearing a North corner in the 65th minute. Keeper Emma Rigby recorded six saves for the Warriors.
Junior midfielder Morgan Kemerling put the game out of reach by smashing a header in the 73rd minute off a Fuller corner kick.
“It was great to get that goal there, because a 1-0 lead at that point of the game is a risky lead and there is still time left and they have Abbie Boswell, she’s a great player,” Kemerling said.
The Huskies (3-3-2) are looking for offensive consistency. After they captured consecutive championships and three state title game appearances in a row, coach Steve Goletz is now incorporating many new faces.
“The culture here is still really great and the kids battle, but when you lose the group we had the last three years, there’s going to be some overturn,” Goletz said. “We have a lot of young players that don’t have a lot of varsity minutes.”
Boswell had knee surgery last August and confronted a seven-month recovery. The state’ stop junior had 28 goals and 11 assists last year. Entire defenses are designed to stop her.
“Everybody knows who she is, and they are putting two and three defenders and that is why we need to have other people step up,” Goletz said.
The Warriors made an impression.
“They’re good, by far the best team we have played this year,” Goletz said.