The last time New Trier girls lacrosse stood on Evanston’s field, the Trevians vowed when they returned, things would be different.
“We played Evanston early in the season and we didn’t have a good of a start as we’d wanted to,” New Trier’s Emma Curry said. “We left knowing we needed to play more as a team; it is a team effort that is going to win us games.
“So coming back to this field, I think we all had that conversation in our minds. It’s playing as a team that’s going to win us the game.”
New Trier kept their vow and needed every bit of its power against rival Loyola Friday, May 27, at Lazier Field. The Trevs downed the Ramblers 8-7 in the sectional finale to stay unbeaten in-state and best Loyola for the second time on the season.
A year ago, it was the Ramblers who bested the Trevians, 13-12, in the sectional championship, and the feeling from that loss has stuck with New Trier players.
They have memorized the date: June 11.
“I think last year’s loss made us want it more,” Curry said. “It’s all a day we remember, 6-11. Coming into this we were more motivated than ever and beating them earlier this season. We knew we had it in us to do it again.”
Loyola’s Riley Jenkins got the ball rolling when she put a shot in the net a mere 49 seconds into the game.
But New Trier got the lead back with goals from Addie Shevitz and Curry (3 goals).
The draw was key for both teams in the first half. In fact, the first four goals were scored by the team that won the previous draw.
A back-and-forth affair broke out between the two teams until the Ramblers scored on an Adrienne Leone goal with 13:26 left in the half.
Then, like in the teams’ first meeting, the Trevians defense stood tall and shut down Loyola’s high-powered offense — this time for 20 straight minutes, the rest of the first half and for the first seven minutes of the second.
“Great defense,” New Trier coach Pete Collins said. “That’s a really good offense we played. It all starts with Carli Harpel who coaches the defense and them believing in themselves to trust the most basic things — step up, close the gap, talk and slide. That’s all they did. They were playing fundamental defense.”
In the meantime, Shevitz and the Curry twins were helping build a New Trier lead. Late first-half goals by Shevitz and Grace Curry gave the Trevians a 5-4 lead at the break, and then Emma Curry added to her total off a beautiful feed from Shevitz with three minutes elapsed in the second half.
What was once a 4-3 deficit was now a 6-4 New Trier lead.
Catherine Holcomb’s goal with 18:12 remaining broke the Ramblers’ scoreless streak, but the New Trier offense responded with two goals, one by Grace Curry and another by Shevitz, to produce the largest lead of the game, 8-5.
“The level of play between the two of us is very good,” Loyola coach John Dwyer said. “Both teams are deep enough where they play really, really good defense and that’s a part of it. It takes longer to score, more successful passes.
“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes on offense that we haven’t been making in the second half of the season. We needed to take a little bit better care of the ball and execute the offense a little better.”
A win on the ensuing draw brought the Ramblers back to 8-6 when Holcomb scored again and Jenkins added another goal with 2:37 remaining for the 8-7 final. But a Loyola yellow card with 2:28 remaining meant that the Trevians would play with a player advantage for two minute.
For a team that’s used to playing at a faster pace, Collins said that the Trevians have designated paces of play for all types of different situations.
“(Our players) knew they had a 100 P look, which is a hundred percent shot, we have a call where we don’t shoot and a call when we’re going to stall,” Collins said. “They knew when we were going to do it and we did all three.”
For Loyola, the loss marked the end of yet another successful graduating class, one that helped the program to an IHSA state championship, a series that began in 2021. It will also see six seniors go off and play collegiate lacrosse: Maeve Dwyer (Notre Dame), Maeve Dooley (Marquette), Claire Mertzlufft (Denison), Adrienne Leone (Davidson), Mary Claire Hendrick (Davidson) and Alyssa Kawala (Colorado College).
“I’m really proud of our kids and how they’ve handled the adversity over the last couple years,” Dwyer said. “They’re really resilient kids and I’m honored to be a part of the program we have at Loyola.
“There’s quite a tradition that these families and kids have built. It’s really heartening to see how everyone embraces it.”
The Trevians move on to the supersectional Tuesday, May 31, against second-year program Hersey. The winner of that game advances to the state’s final four.