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Mackenzie Fuller of Waubonsie Valley and Adena Kerzner (6) of New Trier each try to get their foot into the ball. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
New Trier had the reputation and the stunning 20-game winning streak. Waubonsie Valley had the confidence and collective purpose that has made the Warriors virtually untouchable.
Senior Mackenzie Fuller scored two goals a minute apart in the second half and the No. 5 Warriors withstood the top-ranked Trevians’ rally Saturday for a 2-1 victory in the championship game of the Naperville Invitational at Naperville Central.
“Everything is finally coming together and we’re finally playing the way we wanted to play since the beginning of the season,” Fuller said. “We’re playing our game and taking it to our opponents.”
She registered her eighth and ninth goals of the year as the Warriors (13-1-3) won their first tournament title since 2010. Waubonsie won its ninth straight game and extended its unbeaten streak to 16 in denying New Trier’s historic quest to win the PepsiCo Showdown and Naperville Invitational in the same season.
New Trier (20-1) enjoyed the advantage of the wind in the first half and generated some strong offensive plays. The Trevians’ best chance came in the 37th minute on a 48-yard free kick by Halley Kaufman that Warriors junior goalkeeper Emma Rigby made a superb leaping save to deflect over the top of the crossbar.
“It was really difficult with the wind, because even with that ball, I thought it was going to be an easy catch and then it picked it up speed, but fortunately I got it over,” Rigby said.
Waubonsie took charge midway through the second half. From the right wing about 35 yards out, junior Tori Christiansen delivered a cross that Fuller converted with a quick flick of her right foot in the 59th minute for the crucial first score. It was Christiansen’s fifth assist.
“In the second half we started to play our game and get it on the ground,” she said. “I just knew to look through and somebody would be there. I looked up and saw Mac at the far post and slotted it through.”
“The ball got switched to Tori and I saw her taking the space in the middle and I knew she was going to cross it, so I just wanted to get any part of my body on the ball.” Fuller said. “I got the outside of my foot and was able to place it.”
The goal marked the first time this year New Trier had trailed in a game. A minute later, junior Cici Gazder was ruled to be fouled in the box and Fuller put away the penalty kick for a 2-0 advantage.
Rigby, a three-year starter, recorded seven saves to continually thwart the Trevians.
But New Trier senior Maddie Mulford made the game interesting by converting a penalty kick in the 76th minute as the Trevians made an aggressive final effort. Rigby made two saves, though, and Fuller’s two goals stood up.
“We hadn’t won [Naperville Invitational] in my four years, so it was nice to finally win it, knock off the No. 1 team in the state and stop their unbeaten streak,” Fuller said.
New Trier was playing its seventh game in nine days and also played without its top two defenders, Molly Cahill and Jackie Welch. New Trier coach Jim Burnside said going undefeated was never a team goal.
“There’s a reason nobody has ever won [PepsiCo] and Naperville the same year,” Burnside said. “It’s hard, with great competition. The message is we’re the same team we were 80 minutes ago. We just need to keep moving forward and getting better, because we know what we can do.”