Win over Neuqua V. caps
big week for Naperville C. in DVC
Redhawks' 1-0 victory moves them to 3-0-1 in league play
By Matt Le Cren
NAPERVILLE -– Isabel Reedy has made a lot of good plays on defense for Naperville Central this season.
But it was her aggressiveness on a rare offensive play which allowed the host Redhawks to turn the tide in a 1-0 DuPage Valley Conference victory over Neuqua Valley on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Reedy was tripped up in the penalty area at the end of a 60-yard run and teammate Ryan Dudycha scored on the resulting penalty kick with 32 minutes to go in the second half.
The win concluded an impressive week for the Redhawks, who beat local rivals Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley in back-to-back outings, and gave them control of their own destiny in the DVC race.
“I don’t remember the last time we beat those two in the same week,” said Naperville Central coach Ed Watson, whose squad hadn’t beaten either school since 2012. “You keep winning games and you've got a chance (at the DVC title).
“I think our girls have wrapped their minds around the fact that we’ve got to keep teams from scoring, that we’re not going to pile up goals on teams.”
Neither team figured to pile up goals – or even opportunities – in a typically defensive-minded game.
Naperville Central and Neuqua Valley were riding high after both beat Waubonsie Valley this week. The Redhawks (6-2-3, 3-0-1) have now won three straight while the Wildcats (4-3-1, 2-2) had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Both teams had eight shots Saturday and both goalkeepers -– Naperville Central’s Kinzly Dressler and Neuqua Valley’s Yanel Ortiz -– made three saves.
So naturally it was a play other than a shot that made the difference.
“Coach says whenever you have the opportunity and you know you can take it, go for it,” Reedy said. “So I just saw the gap, and I knew I had to take the opportunity.”
Reedy took advantage of open space in the middle of the field and raced forward before being taken down just inside the 18.
“I saw the space, and I knew I had to take it at speed because otherwise they would have caught up to me,” Reedy said. “I knew if I took it into the box, and they caught me at all it would be a penalty kick. Otherwise I would get a shot off.
“So it was really exciting, because I’m in the back and I don’t usually get up the field that often.”
Watson was glad to see Reedy attack and was happy with the senior’s decision-making.
“Isabel made a great run out of the back,” Watson said. “I would have liked to seen her shot the ball before she got in the box, but I’m glad she didn’t.
“It was the right call. On turf, going in that hard, defenders are really at the mercy of the dribbler at that point."
Reedy could have taken the penalty kick herself considering she drew the foul and absorbed the pain, but she gladly deferred to Dudycha.
“I was confident in Ryan, and I knew that she would convert on that,” Reedy said. “I always trust her on those penalty-kicks, and I knew she would get that in.”
Reedy was correct. Dudycha drilled the shot into the lower right corner of the net where Ortiz had no chance to stop it.
“I always look for who’s willing to step up there,” Watson said. “Before the foul was called I think (Dudycha) had already started to line it up. You gotta have somebody who’s got confidence that she’s going to step up and score.”
Dudycha, who is tied with Meridith Hannan for the team lead in goals with six, is brimming with confidence.
The Purdue-bound senior has converted two penalty kicks and has two game-winning and two game-tying goals this season. She has scored against all three District 204 teams this season, accounting for all of the three goals the Redhawks have scored in wins over Waubonsie and Neuqua valleys and a tie against Metea Valley.
“That’s really exciting, and it’s great to get those opportunities because I don’t want to say they are easy goals, but they’re great opportunities,” said Dudycha, whose goal in the second overtime beat Waubonsie 1-0 on Thursday. “I know exactly what I’m going to do when I set it down. I set it down, take a deep breath and aim.”
Dudycha’s aim wasn’t as good on her best opportunity in the run of play when she fired a 30-yard shot just wide of the right post with 6:25 left in the second half.
That would have provided some comfortable insurance but the Redhawks didn’t need it because the Wildcats did not get a shot off down the stretch. Naperville Central’s back line of Reedy, Caitlin Reice, Amanda Murphy and Maggie Hillsman was rock solid in the second half as the Redhawks notched their fourth shutout.
Neuqua Valley’s only chances after intermission came from long distance off the foot of Nicole Mondi. The junior defender missed wide right on a 30-yard free kick with 37:40 to go and her 50-yard free kick with 19:25 remaining found the head of teammate Haley Singer, whose backwards header was stopped by Dressler.
“They outhustled us in the second half,” Neuqua Valley coach Joe Moreau said. “I thought we made some poor choices in terms of runs. We hung onto the ball a little bit too much at times.
“Defensively I thought both teams played very sound, so it’s a game you’ve got to learn from and move onto the next game.”
The Wildcats were the better team at times in the first half, when each side missed great chances.
And the Wildcats were unlucky not to break the ice at the 29:40 mark. Singer’s short volley from just outside the six hit the right post and Mondi headed the rebound into the crossbar.
“In my opinion, the first half we didn’t have a lot of opportunities and the ones that we did have, such as that one, we need to put that away,” Singer said. “That’s not acceptable. (The misses) shouldn’t have happened.
“We weren’t really working to make opportunities in the first half, which I was upset about, but then again, the second half we did much better.”
Ortiz continued her solid play between the pipes for the Wildcats. The sophomore came up with the save of the day with 25:45 left in the first half when she aggressively charged to the front of her box to confront Kayla Burke, who had been sprung on a breakaway thanks to a lead pass from Kathleen Conforti.
Burke got a step on her defender but Ortiz made a diving save just inside the 18.
Seventeen minutes later, Ortiz made a leaping stab on Kayla Rowan’s 35-yard runner from the right wing.
Dressler stopped a similar shot from Katherine Ferrarelli and also made several nice efforts to punch away corner-kicks, including a leaping effort to knock the ball away from Shannon Tagler four minutes before the break.
Neuqua Valley now has three days to prepare for the start of the Naperville Invitational when they meet Sandburg at 7 p.m. Thursday at Naperville Central.
“We’ve got some young kids, and they’ve got to learn that you’ve got to play 80 minutes,” Moreau said.
Singer had a similar perspective.
“I think there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Singer said. “I think one key component is everyone battling consistently throughout the match, and we still haven’t attained that.
“We will train very hard this week going into the Naperville Invite.”
Naperville Central hosts Wheaton Warrenville South in a DVC match Tuesday.
“It really has boosted our confidence this past week, especially after having a couple losses,” Reedy said. “To be able to come out and beat these two amazing teams, it’s a great feeling.
“I feel as long as we keep on going forward and we keep on putting our effort in during practice and games, I think we can contend for first in the DVC.”
The Redhawks host Oswego at 5 p.m. Thursday in their Naperville Invitational debut.
GK: Yanel Ortz
D: Katherine Ferrarelli
D: Shannon Tagler
D: Kailey Serna
D: Nicole Mondi
MF: Erin Sweda
MF: Veda Tappin
MF: Rachel Ehrman
F: Haley Singer
F: Alyssa Bombacino
F: Sydney Rushing
GK: Kinzly Dressler
D: Amanda Murphy
D: Isabel Reedy
D: Maggie Hillman
D: Caitlin Reice
MF: Kathleen Conforti
MF: Julia Irle
MF: Kayla Rowan
MF: Maggie Redecker
F: Meridith Hannan
F: Ryan Dudycha
MVP of the Match: Isabel Reedy, D, Naperville Central