NCHS Girls Soccer Alumni: Newspaper Articles 2008-2009

Sunday, May 4
Newspaper Articles Continued

2009 Season

Central wins touranament

Schaumburg's Sam Halter crashes into Naperville Central's Nicole Ramberg on Saturday at the Rose Augsburg Drach Tournament in St. Charles. Central won, finishing 2-0-1. Terence Guider-Shaw / For The Sun

Defense does dirty work all three games

ST. CHARLES -- Naperville Central coach Ed Watson has seen his girls soccer team struggle scoring in the early going this season.

And until the 4:38 mark of Saturday's match against Schaumburg, that trend continued.

But Alex Coon managed to get a head on a corner kick at that very moment to break the ice, and senior Kelly Blumberg punched in an insurance goal with 3 seconds left to give the Redhawks a 2-0 win at the St. Charles East's Rose Augsburg Drach Tournament.

The victory clinched the tournament title and Central finished 2-0-1 this week, improving to an impressive 7-1-1 overall.

"You like the fact that there are medals at the end of it and you win a plaque," Watson said. "We have other things that we grew from. We played three quality programs. We're getting our legs back from our spring break hiatus. We needed some games to see where we are at. We're defending well and that will keep you in ballgames."

Defense was the hallmark of the tournament for the Redhawks, who allowed only one goal in 120 minutes of action. The back line of Jessica Rubin and Coon thwarted the Saxons (5-5-1) all day, allowing only two shots on goal the whole game.

"We've got a very mixed group of players on defense," Coon said. "We're just really strong and we talk a lot and we always know we have somebody behind us. We're very cohesive."

Freshman keeper Jill D'Amico stopped the only serious scoring chance Schaumburg had in the first half. With 14:40 left, Allie Schmalz fired a nearly perfect free kick that D'Amico punched out of bounds.

"We kind of bend and don't break," Watson said. "Jill does one or two things a game to bail us out, and Rubin does a whole lot more to help us win.

"We better defend our goal because you've seen it all week, we struggle to score goals."

Though the game was already in hand, Watson was happy to see Blumberg score at the end of the game, hoping it will open up the scoring in what will be a busy three-game slate next week.

"Kelly just works her tail off," Watson said. "She plays all over the field and does whatever she can to help us win. It's a nice reward for her hard work and effort. Who knows? We may have just unleashed the cork and all of a sudden we score a bunch of them."

Central gets back into DuPage Valley Conference play Monday against Glenbard East before facing cross-town rival Naperville North on Thursday. Then, the Redhawks face a stiff, non-conference challenge against Neuqua Valley Saturday.,6_2_NA12_SOCC_S1.article

Best friends give Naperville Central girls soccer team an extra kick

Girls soccer team blossoms with pair as 'heart and soul'

It wasn't really even about the game itself, let alone where it might lead her.

It was nearly half a lifetime ago for Jessica Rubin, and that's not how 9-year-olds think.

Naperville Central High School was still off in the horizon. And The Big 1-0 was her next birthday.

The girl who lived down the street, her friend Kelly, asked her to try out for her soccer team. So she did.

Turns out she's pretty good.

Rubin and Kelly Blumberg have played together virtually year-round ever since, and eight years later the BFFs are the leaders of one of the best girls soccer teams in the Chicago area and recipients of scholarships to local Division I programs.

Rubin, a defender, is headed to Northwestern, while Blumberg, a versatile midfielder, will attend DePaul.

"They are the heart and soul of our team," said Naperville Central coach Ed Watson.

A four-year varsity starter, Blumberg found herself uncomfortable with the leadership role at first. She looked up to the older girls and enjoyed the comfort their presence provided. Then in one instant March 25, Blumberg made the transformation.

Naperville Central was beating Waubonsie Valley, threatening to put an end to the two-time defending Class AA state champion's streak of 59 games without a loss. Blumberg sensed her teammates were too giddy and implored them to focus.

The game ended 1-0 Naperville Central, a huge victory for a team that had lost its first game and wasn't sure how it was going to fare without the firepower of Casey Short, a junior national-team member who led the Redhawks to a 20-6 season before heading to
Florida State.

"We are forced to play more as a team," Rubin said. "Last year we knew we could rely on [Short]. Now everyone knows they have to step up, someone has to do something to make it work."

That's where Blumberg and Rubin come in. Unsure where goals were going to come from, Watson experimented with Blumberg, who has 19 goals and 17 assists in her career, on the front line before moving her back to midfield, where her ability to roam instinctively and get her head on most throw-ins have been instrumental.

"That took away some of her value," Watson said. "We like to move her around a lot, inside, outside, take advantage of her versatility."

Watson envisions Blumberg moving back again next year.

"She is the prototypical outside back," he said. "She's physical, has great speed, two-footed, has the ability to make people miss on the outside. I see her attacking the outside from the back in college. I think DePaul envisions that too. We don't have the luxury of using her like that because she is too much of an impact player."

There's no question Rubin will be playing defense for Northwestern. Though Watson considers her the team's best one-on-one defender in his 17 seasons as coach, she wasn't receiving a ton of recruiting attention when the Wildcats snatched her at their camp last summer.

Her play so far this season is making it look like a steal.

"I can't think back to a player we've had who can defend like she can," Watson said. "She takes great angles and has great speed."

Both said their collisions in practice will be among the things they'll miss next year.

"When we are at practice, we kill each other because we both go so hard," Blumberg said. "It is unreal to think that we are going off to college and will actually play against each other.

"I remember when we started playing together. I remember how excited I was that one of my friends was going to be playing with me."

Maddi Leads Redhawks to victory

ST. CHARLES -- Five games ago, Naperville Central freshman soccer player Gina Maddi was a forward on the JV squad.

Then Maddi was pulled up to the varsity squad just in time to score the lone goal in the Redhawks' signature win against Waubonsie Valley.

And after scoring both goals in the Redhawks' 2-1 win over Geneva Thursday at St. Charles East's Rose Augsburg Drach Tournament, it looks like Maddi is up on varsity to stay.

"The girls treat me great," Maddi said. "I really like it here, so I'm planning on staying."

Maddi got the stamp of approval from coach Ed Watson after she scored two goals in a 4:39 span in the first half to help Central (6-1-1 overall) erase an early 1-0 deficit. The first of her goals was a spectacular shot from over 15 yards out. Then at the 24:35 mark of the first half, Maddi was in the right spot after the ball bounced around after an Alex Coon throw-in to make it 2-1.

"She just keeps going what I ask her to do, which is what freshmen usually do," Watson said. "She's just trying to fit in and help. She's got a pretty potent shot. The first goal was outstanding. No keeper is going to save that one."

Geneva (2-2-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead with 33:16 left in the first half when Demi Miller fired a perfect cross to Val Bender that Bender headed into the back of the net.

"We weren't expecting that right away," Maddi said. "It was difficult. We had to keep our heads up."

It didn't take the Redhawks long to get back into the game, however. The first of Maddi's goals came only 4:02 after the Vikings took the lead, and less than five minutes after that, Central was ahead for good.

"(The first goal) was good, but as soon as they scored, we had a big mental lapse," Geneva coach Megan Owens said. "There was a good 15 minutes where we weren't stringing together any passes. It's frustrating as a coach, but we showed we could hang with them. I think on a different day, it may have been a different outcome, but they were the better team today."

Geneva had a handful of solid chances to tie the game in the second half, but Central managed to avoid those threats. Emily Hinchman had a great look with 23:06 left in the second half that Central freshman keeper Jill D'Amico deflected. Geneva could not get off a clear shot on the rebound.

And then D'Amico saved the win with 6:42 left, deflecting a shot by Bender with a diving save.

"Jill made an unbelievable save on that one opportunity they had late, and on top of that save was able to come out and corral the rebound with bodies in the way," Watson said. "Team effort today."

Central wraps up play in the tournament Saturday with a 4 p.m. start against Schaumburg.,6_2_NA10_SOCC_S1.article 

Lacking punch

Naperville Central keeper Jill D'Amico punches away a St. Charles East corner kick during the teams' 0-0 tie Wednesday night at St. Charles East. D'Amico made four save to earn the shutout.
Mary Beth Nolan | For The Sun

Central offense misfires in tie vs. St. Charles East
ST. CHARLES -- In a 0-0 tie every missed chance becomes magnified in retrospect.

Getting a better shot here, taking more time there, often becomes the difference between a victory and the result Naperville Central and St. Charles East played to Wednesday during opening action of the Saints' four-team Rose Augsburg Drach Tournament.

The Redhawks (5-1-1) got the bulk of their chances during a stretch midway through the first half, but they couldn't capitalize on at least three good scoring chances. In the 18th minute Sally Stocchero broke free down the left side, but fired a 10-yard shot wide to the short side.

Two minutes later, Heatherly sent a 35-yard free kick that grazed off the crossbar. Saints goalie Zoie Samaan also made a nice save on a shot from Gina Maddi in the 29th minute.

"We really were in that feeding frenzy mode," Central coach Ed Watson said. "It didn't seem like we were dealing with them on our end very much. We kept the ball coming down their throats. But we never ended up finishing. We needed the one. I felt if we could get the one that would loosen us up."

The one never came, as was the case also for the Saints (0-1-2), who have scored one goal this season.

But they had a golden scoring chance in the third minute when Hannah Ketterling caught up to a long through pass in the penalty area. She used a stop-and-go maneuver to elude a Redhawks defender before taking a shot from 12 yards out that Central goalie Jill D'Amico got a hand on before it deflected off the post.

"Hannah hit a great ball and it looked like she had her beat to the short side there, which was a little surprising," Saints coach Pat Feulner said. "She got down and got on it to tip it off the post. That's OK. It was an opportunity we didn't have in the first 60 minutes on Saturday (in a 1-0 loss against Batavia)."

Central continues play in the round-robin tournament at 5 p.m. today against Geneva, which beat Schaumburg 1-0 in Wednesday's opener.,6_2_NA09_SOCC_S1.article


Central beats West Aurora - Naperville Sun

April 8, 2009



• Central
The Redhawks improved to 5-1-0 with a 4-0 victory over West Aurora Tuesday in Aurora.

Taylor Heatherly , Nicole Ramberg , Ashley Tegge and Kelly Blumberg each scored and Jill D'Amico made a pair of saves in the victory.,6_2_NA08_REWIND_S1.article


Redhawks slam brakes on Warriors' epic streak

Naperville Central players celebrate their 1-0 win over Waubonsie Valley.
(Jonathan Miano/For the Naperville Sun)

Unbeaten run ends at 59 with first loss since May 2007

NAPERVILLE -- Today, Ed Watson looks like a genius. His decision to elevate freshman Gina Maddi from the Naperville Central junior varsity team Wednesday night looks divinely inspired now.

All Maddi did in her varsity debut was score the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Waubonsie Valley at North Central College. It was the nightcap of the District 203/204 Crossover doubleheader on a night that benefited breast cancer awareness.

Maddi's goal came from 30 yards out with 2 minutes, 19 seconds remaining to end the Warriors' unbeaten streak at 59 games.

"I guarantee that for everybody who's going to say what a great move that was (to bring Maddi up), there are plenty of people going, 'Well, you're the idiot who waited until game five to give her a chance,'" Watson said.

Maddi didn't even know she was going to be playing in the varsity game until she was told on the way to the stadium. So new to the varsity arena, Maddi didn't even know the significance her goal carried. Her first varsity goal will be remembered as the one that knocked off the Warriors, the two-time defending state champions who entered the season ranked first in the nation in two polls.

"I don't know as much about Waubonsie as the others do, so I guess this is pretty shocking," Maddi said. "I was very nervous in the beginning but I just came out and played."

Maddi scored after Jessica Rubin sent a pass forward. Maddi dug it away from a defender and ripped the long shot to beat Claire Hanold, who finished with two saves.

"I just turned and shot and what do you know, everybody's cheering for me,”" Maddi said. "I didn't even see the ball go in."

For much of the night the Warriors (1-1) controlled the ball. But they couldn't get behind the Redhawks defense and managed only three shots on goal.

Their offense took a hit when midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo missed a large chunk of the second half after suffering a calf cramp. They also continue to play without Bri Rodriguez, who hasn't returned from a torn ligament in her left knee suffered last spring.

The Warriors also lost Rachel Bostick to an ankle injury in the 79th minute. Bostick had to be helped off the field after turning her left ankle while inside the Central penalty area.

As the final second ticked off the clock, the Redhawks fans counted down. And as the horn sounded, the players erupted in celebration as the Warriors walked off the field.

"Central came out and got after it," said Waubonsie coach Julie Bergstrom, whose team lost for the first time since May 19, 2007. "We know it's the beginning of the season, it's the second game. We have to be realistic about our injuries and where we are."

Central improved to 4-1 with the victory. Girls Soccer: Naperville Central 1, Waubonsie Valley 0,032409-waubonsie-streak-ends-naperville-central.article


Redhawks shock Waubonsie Valley in 1-0 win
By Orrin Schwarz | Daily Herald Staff
This was a "win-win situation" for Taylor Heatherly and her Naperville Central teammates.

Heatherly, a prime mover in helping turn Wednesday's Naperville girls soccer doubleheader at North Central College into a fundraiser for breast cancer research, also got to enjoy the Redhawks' 1-0 upset of Waubonsie Valley (1-1), the nation's top-ranked team and Illinois' two-time defending state champion.

Neuqua Valley defeated Naperville North in the night's first game by the same 1-0 score.

"My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I thought it was a big deal to get the community involved," Heatherly said.

The game was scoreless into the 78th minute when Redhawks freshman Gina Maddi, called up to the varsity just before this game, struck with a 30-yard left-footed blast, creating a joyous Redhawks community.

"I'm actually in shock," Heatherly said. "I knew we could do it. We have a great group of girls here. ... I'm so happy, I'm just ecstatic."

Coach Ed Watson, whose Redhawks (4-1) lost last week to Plainfield North, prepared his team on the bus before the game to win.

"I said when we win tonight, there will be a new No. 1 team in the nation," Watson said with a wry smile, "and obviously that's Plainfield North. That's the transitive law of soccer."

In the opener Neuqua Valley scored its goal in the 42nd minute when junior Eileen Doyle dribbled into the Naperville North penalty area, turned when confronted by the Huskies defense and found sophomore Megan Oyster to her right. Oyster one-timed a right-footed shot into the net. It was the first goal allowed by the Huskies (3-1-1) this season.

"Eileen plays very well with her back to the goal,"said Moreau, whose team was playing its season opener. "She got in (the box), I thought she should have shot earlier, and all of a sudden she spun, held off the defender and laid it back to Megan. It was a nice pass."

It was a nice shot also.

"I was thinking about taking a really powerful shot," Oyster said. "I was right in front of the goal. But my nerves today are obviously really strong because it's the first game. I thought about it and just placed it."

"We try to tell them, you don't try to kill the ball," Moreau said. "... We were happy that she got it on frame."

The Huskies threatened the nationally ranked Wildcats throughout, putting 7 shots on the Neuqua net, but they couldn't crack the Wildcats' pair of Division I senior goalkeepers, Fordham-bound Rachel Suther in the first half and Texas-bound Alexa Gaul in the second.

"We had our chances," Huskies coach Brent Terada said. "I thought we definitely had our chances to finish. Unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on that."

Girls soccer
March 20, 2009 - Naperville Sun (Prep Rewind)

During their 6-0 win, Amanda Knezovich scored twice while Becca Ebling , Taylor Heatherly , Sally Stocchero and Ashley Tegge each tallied once.

Alex Coon , Hillary Scott and Kelly Blumberg recorded assists.

Jill D'Amico recorded one save to earn the shutout and help the Redhawks improve to 2-0 this year.,6_2_NA20_REWIND_S1.article

2008 Season Cont'

Naperville Central 1, Naperville North 0

May 17, 2008 - Daily Herald  

When it left her left foot, Naperville Central's Casey Short wasn't quite sure what to make of the shot she took from 23 yards out Friday.

"I didn't get a lot on it. I was a little worried," Short said. "But it was just enough."

Short's shot nipped the inside of the post and crossed the goal line, two minutes before halftime, giving the Redhawks a 1-0 win over Naperville North in a Class AA regional title soccer game at Naperville Central.

"She was able to find that space between the midfield and the back line," said Redhawks coach Ed Watson, whose squad improved to 20-5 on the year and will face Neuqua Valley in a sectional semifinal game on Tuesday.

"That goal came at a big time because it allowed us to go into halftime with momentum on our side."

In a game in which neither team's defenses allowed attacking players behind them, the Redhawks' 7-2 edge in shots on net came almost exclusively from long range.

Redhawks freshman goalkeeper Krissy Many went up and snared what was perhaps the Huskies' most dangerous shot of the game, a hard-hit blast taken by Rycke Guiney from 35 yards out in the first half.

"We had a quick turnover and Guiney hit a great ball," Watson said. "(Many) got to her line and stayed with it the whole way."

One season after struggling to score, this year's Redhawks have consistently put goals on the board. On Friday they took a slightly different tack in holding the Huskies' attack at bay.

"We talked all year long about trying to be an offensive team, but it's the state tournament time," Watson said. "Shutouts keep you in games, and we played a little more defensive-minded."

For a young squad playing one of the toughest annual schedules in Illinois, a 7-8-4 record to end the year doesn't quite tell the story of the Huskies' 2008 season.

"Their record doesn't reflect how good they are," Short said.

"They're under .500, only because they play a brutal schedule," Watson said.

Coach Brent Terada's squad only started a single senior, and he was pleased with the effort he got all year from his girls.

"They have so much heart, and they're such a great group of kids," Terada said. "I can't say enough about them. They're awesome competitors.

"Next year we'll be a little bit older, and a little bit better."

-- Gary Larsen  

New: Girls soccer playoffs: Redhawks end Huskies' season

May 16, 2008 - Naperville Sun

Casey Short scored in the 38th minute and Naperville Central made it stand in a 1-0 victory over Naperville North in the Naperville Central Regional final Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

The second-seeded Redhawks (20-5) hit the 20-win mark for the first time since 2005 and fifth time overall. They will face Neuqua Valley, which beat Batavia 2-1 Friday, in the Waubonsie Valley Sectional semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Huskies (7-8-4) ended below .500 for only the second time in school history.

In addition to Central and Neuqua, top-seeded Waubonsie Valley also won a regional title on Friday. The Warriors routed Oswego 6-0 at Plainfield North.

Benet fell to Geneva 1-0 in the Rosary Regional final, also Friday night,NA16_SOCCREG_S1.article


Sharing title no fun for Redhawks

Loss gives piece of DVC crown to WW South

May 8, 2008

WHEATON -- It had already been a momentous week for Naperville Central, even before the Redhawks stepped onto the field against Wheaton Warrenville South on Wednesday.

Tuesday night saw the Redhawks earn the program's 400th win, at Glenbard East. And thanks to a tie between Naperville North and Wheaton North, Central clinched a share of the DuPage Valley Conference crown. The results marked the Redhawks' 11th first-place DVC finish and first since 2005.

Then came Wednesday and the Redhawks were left sharing what could have been theirs outright. Allison Bellmer scored late in the first overtime as the host Tigers beat Central 1-0 to gain a share of the conference championship.

Central (17-5, 6-1 DVC) lost for only the second time in its 16 games, while the Tigers (15-1-1, 6-1) extended their unbeaten streak to 15.

Although it took 87 minutes to be decided, the game wasn't as close as it might appear. Central managed just five shots and only two needed to be saved by goalie Katlyn Barnes. Meanwhile, Redhawks goalie Krissy Many - a freshman making her fifth start - stopped 11 shots, allowing her only goal since a 3-0 loss to Waubonsie Valley in her debut during the Naperville Invitational on April 26.

"Their forwards outplayed our forwards," said Central coach Ed Watson, who has led the Redhawks to 10 DVC crowns. "Their forwards were working together much better than ours were. It's a team game, but when you're constantly dealing with the ball in your back (line), it gets to be difficult."

The winning goal came on a defensive breakdown. WW South's Lauren Livingston sent the ball down the right side to Bellmer, who caught up to it in the penalty area. Bellmer, left open as she broke toward Many, sent a low shot from about 12 yards out that slipped under the goalie's left arm to the near post.

The Tigers then flooded onto the field to celebrate their conference co-championship, and their sixth title overall.

"As a team, this is what we've worked for and looked forward to," said Bellmer, a senior forward. "We're surprising other people, our coaches, our parents, everyone. I don't think anyone really expected this, except maybe us, deep inside. It means everything to every single one of us."

Central did have chances to score, but most missed the mark. Of those, the best came in the 31st minute when Casey Short ripped a free kick from 35 yards out that Barnes punched away from the upper right corner. Taylor Heatherly had two long free kicks in the second half go just high of the crossbar, and Short had a shot late in regulation deflected by a defender.

"I think in the back of our minds, some of us figured we already had (the DVC title)," Heatherly said. "That was a factor. We tried to do our best with what they threw at us. I was definitely impressed with them, but as a team we played a pretty solid game. It would have been different if we had played a horrible game and lost.",6_2_NA08_SOCC_S1.article


Naperville Central's Jessica Rubin shields the soccer ball from WW South's Leah Johnson, left, during the Tigers' 1-0 overtime win Wednesday in Naperville.

Wheaton Warrenville South 1, Naperville Central 0
By Gary Larsen | Daily Herald Correspondent
Thursday May 8, 2008 

Wheaton Warrenville South's season in girls soccer has played out like a great ensemble movie -- no star, but one heck of a supporting cast.

"Collectively, as a team, they've shown that you can really have strength in numbers," said Tigers coach Guy Callipari. "We work all the way down our bench."

WW South improved to 15-1-1 overall and 5-1 in DuPage Valley Conference play after Allie Bellmer's goal in overtime downed Naperville Central 1-0, and gave WW South a chance at a piece of this year's DVC crown.

"They tested us in all areas, both teams wanted it and both teams went for it," said Tigers defender Amy Quintana.

Callipari's program won the DVC crown from 2000 to 2004, placed second from 2005 to 2007, and a win on Thursday over Glenbard North would ensure a tie for first this year with the Redhawks.

The Tigers earned an 12-2 edge in shots on net against Naperville Central (17-5, 6-1), leaving coach Ed Watson to bemoan his squad's primary disadvantage.

"It was two good teams, and their forwards outplayed our forwards," Watson said. "It was that simple. We had some chances, but they had a lot of chances."

With three or four Tigers approaching 10 goals scored this year, Callipari has gotten big contributions in the attack from Bellmer, Taylor Nieling, Leah Johnson, Sarah Langlas, Liz Ciesielski and Deena Tillawi.

"They're not your typical forwards," Callipari said. "You might think they're too small or too awkward, but they all have good skills with a ball at their feet. They're crafty."

After a scoreless 80 minutes, the Tigers' Lauren Livingston slid a pass to the right side late in the first overtime to Bellmer, who dribbled up alone on net and negotiated an understandable emotion in the process.

"A little bit of fear, I'm not going to lie," Bellmer said. "Lauren made an unbelievable pass, and I figured that if worst came to worst, one of my teammates would (follow up)."

Bellmer's low, hard-hit shot from 10 yards out burned a path to the back of the net. Redhawks freshman goalkeeper Krissy Many was steady in making 11 saves before Bellmer swooped in alone on her in the game's 87th minute.

Callipari applauded the play of his girls in back and the job done in keeping a handle on the Redhawks' Casey Short.

"We just had to be sure we knew where (Short) was at all times," said Quintana, who has teamed in back to great effect this year along with Brooke Ulrich, Bridget Shrigley and Bridgette Kragie.

Afterward, Bellmer offered as good an assessment as anyone of this year's Tigers, who started the season under the rankings radar but continue to have an exceptional year.

"We're surprising everyone," Bellmer said, "except maybe us."

Girls Soccer - Daily Herald Rankings

Rank School
1 Waubonsie Valley
Last goal allowed: March 24
2 Naperville Central
DVC crown on line vs. WW South
3 Wheaton North
Lost 1-0 to Naperville C.
4 WW South
Beat St. Charles North
5 Fremd
Will host MSL title game
6 St. Charles North
Hanging tough in UEC
7 Neuqua Valley
At St. Charles East on Tuesday
8 Carmel
ESCC title on the line Wednesday
9 St. Charles East
Waubonsie, Neuqua ahead
10 York
Unbeaten in WSS
11 Hersey
Shut out Barrington
12 Mundelein
Lost to Glenbrook North
13 Benet
First ESCC loss in 3 years
14 Downers South