Top Five Games // NSW Awards // Season 15

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There were so many games we covered throughout this season, but there were ones that we remember more than any others. All the twists and turns, the intensity, the trading of punches, the suspense. These battles had fans on the edge of their seats. We introduce the Top Five Games of Season 15 sponsored by Edward Medical Group.

5. Girls Lacrosse Sectional Final Neuqua Valley vs. Benet Academy

Starting at five on the Top Five Games, we have the girls lacrosse sectional final between Neuqua Valley and Benet Academy and you could cut the tension with a knife in this one. The Redwings barely held off the Wildcats 10-9 in the regular season, proving how even the matchup would be. It was a back and forth contest with neither team gaining a big advantage on the scoreboard. It even got a little chippy at certain points of this game. A great play by Jill Dennison with the high catch and the goal off the pass from Rachel Lachenicht to tie the game at one early. Shannon Earley was a force as usual in this one as she whips in a goal on this play. That was a part of three straight goals at one point for the sophomore. Although, it was her assist to Jamie Weber with less than five minutes to go that helped Benet claim the sectional championship for a second straight year, 14-13. Those two were in sync the entire game and the Redwings move on to the Super Sectionals. A good way to start off this list.

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4. Boys Lacrosse Sectional Semifinal Hinsdale Central vs. Benet Academy

Next up in our Top Five Games is the boys lacrosse sectional semifinal with Hinsdale Central taking on Benet Academy. This one was also a barn burner with both teams making some terrific plays. Despite being the number one seed, the Redwings did have to fight back from a deficit in the third quarter. Although, the fourth was absolute chaos. Check out this beautiful shot by Cam Randolph who throws an absolute missile to the net to give BA the lead. Then, with under two minutes left, Sami Baridi races towards the net and bounces this shot past the keeper to tie the game up at 14. But the Redwings would have a chance to win it as the clock winds down. With the game on the line, they turn once again to their captain Randolph. He’s able to come through as he gets bumped then dives to put in the game-winning goal with two seconds left. That propels Benet to the sectional final, where they would raise the plaque for the first time with a win over Naperville North.

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3. Football DVC Bowl Naperville North vs. Neuqua Valley

Now we got some action on the gridiron in our Top Five Games with Neuqua Valley hosting Naperville North in the DVC Bowl to end the regular season. Neuqua came in confident with a perfect 8-0 record and a 21-7 win over the Huskies back in Week 4. With the stakes being so high in this one, both teams absolutely brought their best and in turn, created a highly entertaining contest. There were several explosive plays like this one as Aidan Gray connects with Zeke Williams on a 75-yard bomb that puts the Huskies up 21-14 in the second quarter. Not to be outdone, Neuqua comes up with their own big play with Mark Mennecke finding Carter Sessa on the crossing route and he splits the defenders to break free for the 38-yard touchdown. Then, with North trailing by four with under ten seconds to play, Aidan Gray somehow escapes Neuqua’s pass rush and walks it off with an 18-yard score to give Naperville North the DVC title.

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2. Boys Water Polo Sectional Final Naperville Central vs Naperville North

Let’s move inside for boys water polo as it’s the crosstown showdown in the sectional final between Naperville Central and Naperville North with a spot in the state tournament on the line. The Redhawks have dominated this matchup for the past eight seasons, winning three state championships during that span. Like a true rivalry matchup, this game was hotly contested all the way through. With the game tied in the fourth quarter, North freshman Jack Reif puts his team in front as he fires the ball into the net. Although, no lead was safe in this game as Nate Leuken answers back for Central with the rebound and the score, which knots things up again with under a minute left. But North has the ball last with time winding down and Tyson Berg just puts enough on this shot for the goal with two seconds left. An unforgettable moment for the All-State senior and an unbelievable finish as that sent the Huskies to state for the first time since 2014.

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1. Girls Soccer 3A State Final Metea Valley vs. Barrington

Speaking of state, our best game of the year happened during the last week of season 15 in the girls soccer state final between Metea Valley and Barrington. This was a battle and you wouldn’t expect anything less in a state championship. There was not a lot of action over the first 100 minutes, as there were actually no goals scored after regulation and the overtimes. But with the stakes so high, every kick was filled with tension. The game went to penalty kicks and it was wild. Rather than the standard 10, it took 18 PK’s to decide the state title. On one of those kicks, Barrington’s Brooke Brown is able to send it past Julia Straub for the goal. However in round 9, it was senior Abigail Ondrus who was the hero off the bench for the Mustangs as she scores side netting on the 18th kick and Metea Valley took home the program’s first ever state title.

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For more prep sports content, visit our Naperville Sports Weekly page!