Naperville Central girls soccer soars past Neuqua Valley in windy Regional Semifinal

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Naperville Central girls soccer hosts Neuqua Valley in the IHSA Regional Semifinals. The prize for the winner: a match with Metea Valley on Saturday in the regional final. Central defeated Neuqua 4-3 just last week, but all that counts is tonight in a win-or-go-home match. This highlight is sponsored by BMO.

Brozek gets a chance for Central girls soccer but Allessandra Russo gets Neuqua on the board

The home team threatens first as Bella Brozek runs through the Wildcats and takes a shot. However, it is easy for Quinn Sigal in goal to keep out.

After a defensive stand, Gabrielle Smith plays a nice pass to Allessandra Russo down the left wing. Russo pushes the pace before firing a left-footed shot that goes past the arms of Erin Hackett. Just five minutes into the match and the Wildcats lead 1-0.

Malia Shen wraps her foot around the ball for the long-distance goal

Later in the half, it’s Brozek threatening but the ball is played out. It finds the foot of Malia Shen who takes one touch towards the center before letting it fly from 25 yards out. It dips down over the stretched arms of Sigal to level the game in sensational fashion. 1-1 with 15 minutes left in the half.

Trying to end the tie, Brozek finds some space for Emma Russell, who plays it back towards Brozek but it’s broken up. Sigel comes out and loses it to Brozek, but the Neuqua defense helps out their goalie, and the score remains knotted at 1.

Central’s Emerson Burke scores a screamer as the Redhawks take down Neuqua Valley

In the second half now, the Redhawks have a great location for a free kick. Three players fake around but it’s Emerson Burke who takes the shot and it’s a screamer. The ball curls into the net in the perfect spot and Central takes a 2-1 lead just five minutes into the second half.

Looking to strike again, Lauren Thorne finds Emma Russell down the left wing. In a foot race, she gets past the Neuqua defender and threads it past Sigal into a wide-open net. The Redhawks take a 3-1 lead that puts the dagger in the game. Central will face Metea Valley on Saturday at Knoch Park in the Regional Final.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!