Whenever Loyola and New Trier meet in girls lacrosse, the game is played at the highest level in the state.
The two powers came into Friday, May 26’s sectional title game in Northfield with dominant playoff showings — winning each previous game by double-digits and allowing no more than three goals in those victories.
Friday’s contest began in similar fashion, as the team’s entered the halftime break having scored just four total goals. The Ramblers were up 3-1.
A big reason for that was Loyola’s goalie, Tia Boyle.
The junior netminder made seven saves in the first half to hold the line, and she finished with 11 to help Loyola capture its second sectional title in three years courtesy of an 8-5 win to knock off the defending state champions.
“I came into the game fired up and prepared for this game,” Boyle said. “My team’s defense really helped because I couldn’t do it without them. Knowing that they have my back really helps me play better, it pushes me.
“We had to stay confident (because we knew they’d make a comeback). Staying confident knowing that we’re going to get scored on, we’re all getting scored on and not letting that get to us. That’s a great team and we very well could have lost but us playing as one, not as individuals.”
Loyola coach John Dwyer said without Boyle, his team may have trailed at the half.
“Tia made some unbelievable saves in the first half,” Loyola coach John Dwyer said. “Without her first half, we may have been down four, five goals.”
Junior Emma Burke led the Ramblers in scoring with three goals — two of the free position variety.
Like a penalty kick in soccer, most players have a methodology when they get ready to take a free position.
“I don’t have the best shot, but I’m quick off the line,” Burke said. “So I protect my stick and shoot (for) the corners, but I really just prepare for the shot by talking to myself and calming myself down.”
The Trevians battled, though, tying the game at 3-3 about eight minutes into the second half when Addie Shevitz scored off a turnover.
New Trier caused numerous turnovers, but only turned a couple of them into goals.
“I think we were losing, our kids were trying to do too much,” New Trier coach Pete Collins said. “Our (team) fought. We cleared the ball really well; our transition game was great. But we couldn’t take advantage of more of it.”
After a first half that saw the Ramblers win only one of five draws, they turned the tables in the second half and outdrew the Trevians 6-2, something Dwyer said impacted the second half.
“That really played a big key in the half,” Dwyer said. “But they really played with a lot of heart and I loved seeing that.”
That wasn’t the only reason, however. The Ramblers settled down in the second half.
“We got a lot more on the same page during halftime,” Loyola’s Sophia Goldberg said. “There was a bit of miscommunication in the first half, which made it more of a low-scoring game.”
“They threw a zone at us in the first half that kind of surprised us,” Burke said. “I think that after we were able to figure that out, we were more calm and didn’t turn the ball over as much.”
Collins said his team came in with a gameplan on how to stop the Ramblers explosive offense and executed it in the first half.
“Kate Viviano, our defensive coordinator, did a great job in preparation, saying we need to give them different looks from not only man, but zone and also hybrid zone, so two different looks,” he said. “They weren’t ready for it. I thought our defense played lights out.”
The Trevians graduate 14 seniors from this year’s squad and each of them played a big role in the team’s success over the past couple seasons.
“This is a great senior class,” Collins said. “A lot of the kids might not play, but in practice they play so hard. All these girls will have a legacy, they made a lasting impact by buying into the program and the culture.”
Riley Jenkins and Eileen Dooley both added two goals for the Ramblers, while Kennedy Meier and Shevitz both scored twice for New Trier.