Boys soccer: Naperville North completes a perfect regular season
Naperville North has a long history of success in boys soccer, but the Huskies had never completed a perfect regular season.
The two-time defending state champions finished a 19-0-0 regular season with a 6-0 victory over visiting Downers Grove South, showing why they have been No. 1 all season in the Daily Herald Top 20 and are in the top 10 nationally in a couple of rankings.
"It's huge," Huskies senior Jacob Vrankin said. "It's an awesome, amazing accomplishment. ... As a team we're extremely proud, but ultimately the goal is state title, state championship, so with that we have to go into the state playoffs with the mindset that a state championship is our only goal."
The Huskies will host a Class 3A regional, opening in the semifinals Tuesday against either Yorkville or East Aurora. A DuPage Valley Conference rival, either Naperville Central or Neuqua Valley, will be waiting in the Oct. 19 regional final.
The Huskies also won the DVC title as part of their perfect regular season.
"Obviously it's an incredible accomplishment," Huskies coach Jim Konrad said. "Obviously, in the (state) tournament everybody starts 0 and 0. But it's great for the boys to run the table this year with the tough schedule we play, playing a number of teams ranked nationally.
"For them to battle day in and day out, get everybody's best shot, stay humble, I couldn't be prouder. It's an incredible accomplishment."
The Huskies didn't get distracted by Senior Night festivities. Ty Konrad scored the first of his 2 goals on the night, getting it in the sixth minute off a Patrick Koenig assist. Vrankin made it 2-0 in the 20th, and it came off a bicycle kick assist from Zach Smith.
"It looked like he was trying to shoot that ball, but if it was a pass it was a perfectly played pass, right to (me)," Vrankin said. "Right when it came to me I just had to chest it down to my feet and then just had to place it over the goalie. "
It was Vrankin's first goal of the season.
"Fitting for senior night," Vrankin said with a smile.
After senior Colin Iverson hit a glancing header into the goal off a long Cesar Recendez free kick, the Huskies led 3-0 at halftime.
Konrad scored again in the 45th minute on Smith's second assist of the night. Iverson scored his second of the game in the 52nd minute, and starting goalkeeper Tommy Welch yielded the net to Jason Barba in the second half and scored in the 58th minute. Christian Romano assisted the last two goals.
"Downers South is one of those programs that is respected statewide," coach Konrad said. "(Coach Jon Stapleton) is a close friend and a great coach. We just have a little bit more firepower this year. It's good everybody got to play tonight, to celebrate our seniors. That was all good. Now we've just got to shut all of this stuff down and get focused on getting for the first game of the tournament next Tuesday."