Joey LoDuca played a very noticeable role for Naperville Central on Tuesday night.
Matt Driessens’s late afternoon wasn’t nearly as noticeable, but certainly just as remarkable for the Redhawks ‘boys’ soccer team.
Naperville Central, third in the Class 3A Plainfield North section complex, dominated the game to end the first half and begin the second as LoDuca scored two highlight reel goals from a considerable distance for the 6-1 win speed the Redhawks.
The Redhawks (13-7-1) face No. 6 East Aurora, the regional host who dispatched No. 11 Wheaton Warrenville South to Aurora for the championship 4-0 on Friday afternoon.
Waubonsie Valley, seeded No. 15, ended its year on 6/14/2.
“The first half sets the tone and the second half sets the tone,” said Troy Adams, Naperville Central coach. “Joey had an incredible shot at both of them. He’s also a very dangerous player. We emphasize the first five (minutes) of half and the last five.”
Nathan Kwon opened the goal for the Redhawks in the 10th minute, but the game was finalized in an 18-minute period spanning the first two halves.
The Redhawks’ Josh Weigel doubled Naperville Central’s lead with a brilliant chip shot to an indefensible position just under nine minutes before the break.
LoDuca then became the main attraction.
The junior striker scored home 30-plus-yard goals to not only end the first half but also start the second half.
A missed opportunity in the middle of the first half was the trigger.
“Even if you miss a shot, that’s just motivation,” LoDuca said. “It’s like a drive to take more shots afterwards. I saw that there was a gap (on the second goal). I shot straight away.”
As productive as the Redhawks’ offensive was, their defenses were also in shutdown mode.
“We always practice defending in pairs,” said Driessens, whom Adams named as ringleader from his central defensive position. “We only communicated and had our men at all times.”
The last three results of the competition were all down to a brilliant collaboration that resulted in stunning header goals.
After successive LoDuca goals, the Warriors goalkeeper once again had no chance of stopping the carnage when Patrick Bohan lifted a 25-yard floater that Carter Adams confidently finished.
Adams then scored with Benjamin Tietjen for another close range headshot for Naperville Central’s final goal.
“Goals are such a tricky thing in football,” said Adams. “They come or they don’t.”
The Warriors had one final consolation prize for their season.
Angel Gallegos’ brilliant cross from a corner kick allowed Waubonsie Valley to avoid whitewashing as senior Anuj Buch headed the goal home with perfection.
“I’ve had this drive since we were goalless,” said Buch. “I told Angel I would put it at the top of the network. He did a wonderful job. “