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Article from Naperville North DVC Game

posted May 9, 2014, 10:27 AM by Aaron Press

By Darryl Mellema

No question about it – Naperville North is a very good girls soccer team, and for portions of Tuesday's match with Wheaton-Warrenville South, the Huskies looked likely to swamp their visitors.

But it's a mark of how far the Tigers have come this year that they weathered most of those storms. Yes, Naperville North benefitted from an Abbie Boswell goal in each half, but Wheaton-Warrenville South had its chances too.

 Ultimately, however, Naperville North claimed a 2-0 victory that puts it into pole position to claim the DuPage Valley Conference title.

 “I told the team that I thought it was perhaps the best that they have played this year,” Wheaton-Warrenville South coach Guy Callipari said. “But it's tough competition and you can't make mistakes. When you do, those types of players will make you pay for it.”

“They can be pretty difficult, but we're a young team and we're tried to work it out,” Wheaton-Warrenville South keeper Abbey Fuster said.

 Fuster is one of five seniors on the Tigers roster, and she is working with a defense that has a pair of sophomore central defenders.

 “My center defenders did a great job,” Fuster said. “We're really starting to communicate better. Even though the results don't always show it, you can tell on the field by the way we're playing.”

 Naperville North benefitted from a series of set piece plays in the first half. Whether from free kicks near the penalty area or a succession of Abby Mangefrida corner kicks, the Huskies had the ball dangerously in the penalty area for much of the half.

 “It was kind of chaotic in there at times,” Wheaton-Warrenville South central defender Allison Harvey said. “We just have to talk more. As our season goes on, I'm know we'll get it down.”

 And when Naperville North's Alexis Dandridge broke free on the right side of the penalty area and was taken down, the Huskies had a penalty kick 15 minutes into the match. Boswell converted that kick.

 Wheaton-Warrenville South's chances were limited. Five minutes before halftime, Alexis Jakuszewski passed to Erin Madigan, whose shot was saved.

 “We withstood a lot of the pressure,” Callipari said. “Then I thought we had some nice play and transition. And for some of it, I felt we had the better of play in terms of our combination play and in terms of switching the point of attack in the attacking third.”

As the second half progressed, Wheaton-Warrenville South began to build possession and the Tigers' net wasn't under siege as it has been through much of the first half.

 “That's really exciting because it means the girls are listening to what the coaches are saying at halftime,” Fuster said. “You could tell we were getting more chances and we were working end line to end line rather than just trying to get it out of our area.”

 Sarah Burns won a number of loose balls as a defensive midfielder.

 “I was pleasantly surprised by her enthusiasm to chase down loose balls,” Callipari said. “She got in there to fight and bumped with them when she had to. She has a low center of gravity and is a very nice technical player. Her aggressive spirit served us well tonight.”

 Madigan, Jakuszewski or overlapping defender Tori Adomshick were among those who linked the play. Up top, Anna Fank moved from her central role to come wide to receive the ball.

 “Our possession in the second half was really good, especially on the outsides,” Madigan said. “We just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net. Unfortunately, our possession in the first half wasn't very good and it cost us a goal.”

 The result was some strong upfield passing moves by the Tigers, though Naperville North limited true shots on goal.

 “We're best-served when we keep the ball on the ground,” Callipari said. “I thought we had great bits of the game where we did that and carried momentum on them. But then when we gave it up, (Naperville North was) very direct and they had the horses and the stamina to get it up on us and to be successful doing so.”

 Boswell scored her second goal with 5 minutes left in the match when she broke into the left portion of the penalty area, beat a defender and snapped a shot into the right side netting.

“You have to make decisions,” Harvey said. “Boswell was really good at turning on every one of our defenders. It was challenging, but I think we played as well as we possibly could have.”

Despite Wheaton-Warrenville South's resurgence, Naperville North remained dangerous throughout the match and the Tigers' defense had to remain focused through the entire 80 minutes.

“We try to approach every match with the idea that any competitor can have an amazing day,” Fuster said.

Wheaton-Warrenville South's schedule eases a bit as it nears the IHSA tournament. The team's next match is Saturday at Wheaton Academy. The final road match of the regular season is Tuesday at Glenbard East and Senior Night is Wednesday against West Aurora. The Tigers then have a full week before their postseason opener against Schaumburg in the West Chicago Regional.

There is still much to be accomplished this season, however. Wins against Glenbard East and West Aurora would give the Tigers a 5-2 DVC record. There is still an outside chance the team could share the conference crown, but Naperville North needs only a win or tie against Naperville Central to claim the championship.

“We were talking in our team meeting that the last time a team other than a Naperville school won (the DVC) was 2000,” Madigan said. “We were just hoping to come out and get this win, and it didn't happen.”

While there is considerable parity in the DVC this year, Naperville North has been the one school to consistently gain conference victories.

“I don't think in my tenure here, and that's 23 years, that there's been a team with two losses that's won the DVC championship. It just doesn't happen. As much parity as there perhaps is, there is still Naperville North and Naperville Central with one loss, and I think the winner of that game will be the champion.”