Crosstown rivals Naperville North, Naperville Central to face off in sectional final

SHARE Crosstown rivals Naperville North, Naperville Central to face off in sectional final

When the boys water polo seeds for the Metea Valley Sectional were posted, it was assumed the top two, crosstown rivals Naperville North and Naperville Central, would wind up in Saturday’s championship match.

That’s exactly how it played out.

Both teams won their sectional semifinals Friday to advance to Saturday’s 11 a.m. title game, with the winner advancing to next week’s state tournament at Stevenson.

North used a fast start to take care of Neuqua Valley 15-8. Central overcame a slow start to cruise to a 15-4 win over York.

“It is a state-level game,” Central coach Bill Salentine said. “Somebody always goes home disappointed. Somebody gets to play next week.”

North (30-1) scored the first six goals of the game against Neuqua (18-14). Neuqua hung around for much of the game, but the Huskies’ big early lead was enough to sustain Neuqua’s runs.

“It’s good to come out with the pedal to the gas,” North coach Martin Bell said. “It really allows you to do what you want to do later.”

Five different players scored those six goals, part of a balanced offensive attack all day from North. Joe Tomashek scored two. Overall, Nolan Roberts led the Huskies with four goals. Blake Daniel Chapman, Luke Landiak, Drake McClure and Garrett Nash each scored two goals for North.

Neuqua was led by two goals from Scott DePuy and two each from Joe Dalesandro and Simon Shatinsky.

“My core group of juniors, I’m hoping to get them to look like we just saw [from North], and push past that,” Neuqua coach Adam Hoffer said. “I think we’ve got a good chance.”

Central (24-6) led only 3-2 against York (14-16) after a quarter.

“We weren’t firing on all six cylinders to start the game, came out a little flat,” Salentine said. “We had a little inspirational talk and the second quarter turned it all around.”

The Redhawks stormed to a 9-1 advantage in the second quarter to take command of the game. Christian May led Central with four goals, with Joe Bigenwald and Nick Walker each adding three. Ryan Donahue scored twice.

“When we started executing, seeing the open guy and making better passes, we found the back of the net,” Salentine said.

Tim Matsas scored twice for York.

Central and North faced each other three times this season, with North winning all three. Two decisions came by three goals with one coming by four goals.

“They’re a good team, and they’ve come on late in the season,” Bell said of Central. “It’s no blowout game. We have to win that game, for sure.”

Central got off to slow starts in all three prior meetings, something the Redhawks hope to rectify Saturday.

“We know they’re going to come out shooting,” Salentine said. “We have to control the things we can control, play solid defense as best we can and offensive opportunities will come.”

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