Naperville North striker Abbie Boswell is known for having arguably the deadliest left foot in the state, so the book on defending her is to try to force her to move to her right.
That may no longer be such a good strategy.
Boswell has started shooting — and scoring — more with her right foot this season and did so again Monday against visiting Plainfield North. Boswell received a pass from Alexis Dandridge and went to her right around a defender before blasting a 28-yard shot into the upper short-side corner with 23:25 left in the second half.
Three minutes later, the game was called because of lightning, ending in a 1-1 tie.
“I’ve gotten a few [right-footed goals] this year, actually,” Boswell said. “Our whole team is improving and it’s getting easier for me, obviously, since I’m getting back in the groove a little bit. So I’m just really excited we’re improving.”
Boswell continues to round into form after offseason knee surgery. Despite the lack of a consistent No. 2 scoring option, she has scored eight of the Huskies’ nine goals in the last four games, increasing her season total to 14. The Huskies (8-5-3) are 3-0-1 in those games and 5-1-1 in their last seven.
Most importantly, they have scored in all seven of those games after being shut out in six of their first nine outings.
But Naperville North also has a habit of giving up fluke goals, and it happened again in this one when a defender dumped the ball over her own end line just before halftime. Plainfield North (16-2-2) capitalized on the ensuing corner as Heather Handwork headed home Sam Elster’s serve for a 1-0 lead with 7.4 seconds left in the half.
“That goal was inexcusable at the end of the first half and it’s something that can’t happen if we’re to be successful in the playoffs and successful in any game,” Naperville North coach Steve Goletz said. “That was just a lack of people marking and going for the ball and it’s like we fell asleep there.
“But I think we came out in the second half with some energy and enthusiasm and they just did simple things better.”
Indeed, after being outshot 7-4 in the first half, the Huskies began the second half with fire. Olivia Stapleton took the opening kickoff and weaved through three defenders and into the box before sending a shot that rolled just out of the reach of Dandridge and past the right post.
Aside from two corner kicks, the Tigers had no scoring chances after intermission as the Huskies clearly controlled the action..
“We didn’t play as well in the first half and that’s not good, obviously,” Boswell said. “We have to play the whole game consistently but I thought the second half was awesome and we definitely stepped it up so I was happy about that, but we need to improve.”
Goletz, whose team hosts Naperville Central on Tuesday for the DuPage Valley Conference title, agreed.
“I think the first 17 or 18 minutes of the second half was a great effort,” Goletz said. “We had Plainfield North, which is a very good team, back on their heels. We’ve got to find that energy and execution and try to carry that over into a huge game against Naperville Central.”