Northfield, Sports

Libertyville’s penalty-kick success halts New Trier a game shy of state finals

New Trier had Libertyville on the ropes for a full 100 minutes of soccer Tuesday night in Northfield but couldn’t land the knockout blow.

Instead, the Wildcats (18-2-2) provided the final strike with their fifth straight converted penalty kick to clinch the decisive shootout and eliminate the Trevians (23-3-1) a game away from the state finals.

“Nobody wants it to go to penalty kicks unless you win. It’s a tough way to end,” New Trier coach Jim Burnside said. “It’s not on anyone’s shoulders. You go out and play 100 minutes and do the best you can. … I’m really, really proud of our girls.”

Sadie Grace Richardson (16) wins the ball in the air for the Trevians in the supersectional.

The penalty-kick session was a game of inches. While each team made its first shot, New Trier’s second attempt banged down off the crossbar and landed just in front of the goal line.

Facing a goal deficit, Trevians goalie Caroline Hague also got her hands on Libertyville’s third attempt, but the ball bounced into the side netting.

The Wildcats flawless penalty-kick performance secured them a supersectional victory on May 30 and one of four spots in the IHSA Class 3A finals on Friday-Saturday, June 2-3. They will face Barrington on June, while Lincoln-Way East and O’Fallon will square off in the second semifinal.

New Trier’s season comes to a close with regional and sectional championships, and the Trevians were among the final eight teams in IHSA Class 3A. The finish was a two-round playoff improvement from the 2022 season, as the Trevians improved from 11 wins — their lowest total since at least 1997 — to 23 year over year.

“It was a great season. I don’t think anyone thought we’d have this type of season after last season,” Burnside said. “Kids stepped up all over the place. I’m so so proud of each individual, all 23 kids, whether they saw five games or 29 games.

“They are now a great team that New Trier and we will remember for a long time.”

New Trier junior Charlotte Dellin (15) fights off a Libertyville defender.

While the Trevians controlled early action, the Wildcats took over for the final 20 minutes of the first half, which include missed shots off the post and crossbar.

In the second half, the matched turned more physical as the time on the clock waned. Each team was called for five fouls in the half. Overall, New Trier was called for 12 to Libertyville’s six.

After successive shutout wins in sectional play, New Trier’s defense was again up to the task against Libertyville, recording their fourth shutout in five playoff contests. It, however, would not have been possible if not for sophomore defensive back Kennedy Colegrove, who cleared a ball off the goal line after it was sent past her keeper with 12 minutes to play.

The Trevians also created chances in the second half, earning five corner kicks in the half. On the Trevs’ best chance, with three minutes to go, Sadie Grace Richardson headed a corner ball off the turf and just over an open net on the far post.

Speaking generally, Burnside said the Trevs did not have the magic touch Tuesday night.

“Bottom line is (Libertyville is) a good team. They are a good, athletic team, so it’s going to make it harder to create those chances,” he said. “I thought we did a good job and we had to make that final touch and it was hard for us. It was a battle. Those chances don’t come that often against good teams.”

In overtime, with both teams clearly tired from 80 minutes of physical and high-level soccer, chances were few and far between in 20 extra minutes of scoreless play.

Then, each team put out their five for penalty kicks.

Sadie Grace Richardson looks to pull away from a Wildcats defender.

After it was over, with Libertyville not missing a shot, New Trier senior Lida Dodge was proud of how her team went out.

“We just kept trying to do everything we could,” she said. “We gave everything we had to try to win. I think we played our best. We all love each other so much and we just wanted to keep going and play next weekend.”

Dodge, who is off to Purdue University next school year, said New Trier soccer has made a special impact on who she is “on and off the field.”

They’ve helped me grow as a person,” she said of her coaches and teammates.

Burnside said that Dodge and her fellow seniors — such as Richardson, Nora Westol, Clara Deliduka and Lauren Caldwell — left a mark that will remain on future classes of Trevians.

“This senior class has just done an amazing job of setting the tone for soccer but setting the tone for NTGS culture,” he said. “And they bought into it. We will miss these seniors. It’s an intangible. You don’t see all of them out there starting, you don’t see all of them getting great minutes, but they are all great teammates.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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