Honor Roberts said her New Trier field hockey experience came full circle Saturday.
Victory defines that circle.
Roberts, who was pulled up to the varsity team her freshman year, made it three for three in state championships (no tournament in 2020) when the Trevians earned a 3-1 victory over Glenbrook (North and South co-op) Oct. 29 in Northfield.
“This one was really special to me because it was my senior year,” said Roberts, who will compete with the University of Pennsylvania next year. “This season has been really great. The team has played really great and I love all of my teammates. Going out on a high and getting this win kind of wraps up my New Trier field hockey past four years. It was a nice way to conclude it in like a full-circle moment.”
The state-title victory was the Trevians fourth straight (2018, ’19, ’21, ’22) and 11th since 2007 (15 state tournaments). New Trier has 16 total state championships, including 14 under head coach Stephanie Nykaza.
New Trier (25-4) was a dominant force this season, completing an undefeated season against in-state opponents, while also playing top national programs during tournaments in St. Louis, Pennsylvania and Northfield.
Nykaza credited her talented players for not only their play on the field but also their work off of it.
“We work really hard,” she said. “We really put our girls up to the challenge … with our rigorous schedule. We have a lot of good players, but we do work pretty hard. I’m thrilled.
“This is my 14th state title but it’s not easy, because of the pressure that gets mounted on the kids. And there’s the relentless pressure from the others teams because they have nothing to lose. … They were feeling the heat, but they performed and did what they needed to do to win it all.”
In the title game, Glenbrook did not make it easy on the Trevs.
The match was scoreless for a quarter and a half, before Roberts broke through to give her team a 1-0 lead going into halftime. Roberts said after the first quarter, the Trevians focused their attack on the right, an adjustment that opened things up offensively.
“That helped a lot,” she said. “When you attack down the left, it’s the defender’s strong side of the stick, so it’s easier for them to tackle and defend. So you want to attack down the right more often. Then it is reversed.”
New Trier scored twice more in the third quarter with goals coming from junior Izzy Morgan and junior Makenzie Gable.
The Trevs worked to protect the three-goal lead in the final quarter and claimed their state championship with a 3-1 victory over a skillful Glenbrook, Nykaza said.
“They’re good and their stars rose to the challenge,” she said of Glenbrook. “The game was what it was supposed to be. A state championship is supposed to be hard, but three goals is a lot of goals for a state game.
“It took us some time, but I knew once that first goal went in there would be a little pressure off of (our team). … I knew GBS was going to come out fighting. They fought, we fought, and we came out with the win.”
Nykaza said this year’s Trevians rank highly on her long list of great teams.
She said this team set itself apart with its ability to adjust and connect with each other no matter the circumstances.
“I have to say this is probably one of our better teams coming out of New Trier,” Nykaza said. ” … What made this team really special and really good is they would adapt. When we would come out of certain tournaments and took our lumps, they would adjust. … And I think they were really, really competitive. These guys breathed it, and that’s something you can’t coach all the time. As a team, they were on fire. I’m really proud of them.
Roberts (29 goals, team-high 24 assists) is one of five Trevians seniors going out on a high note, meaning New Trier is poised to return 24 players from this championship team. Among them is leading scorer Morgan, a Princeton commit who finished the season with 42 goals and 14 assists in 29 games.