New Trier boys soccer is state-bound for the first time in 14 years.
Senior Kevin Farina’s second-half goal was the decisive tally in the Trevians’ 2-1 supersectional triumph over St. Charles East on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at St. Charles North High School.
The victory marks the first trip to the state finals for coach Matt Ravenscraft, while New Trier will make its first state appearance since 2009, the final of fourth straight state trips under coach Craig Fairbairn.
“I’m just immensely proud of the boys and their effort tonight and truly all season,” Ravenscraft said. “We had to dig deep and the boys had to show their grit and resiliency in some key moments of the game, but they did it. I thought we were the deserved winners on the night based on that.
“I’m obviously so proud of the boys and so excited for them that they get to experience a state finals weekend. It’s certainly been a goal of mine and the coaching staff for many years.”
In 2009, the Trevians took home a third-place trophy. During the state-finals streak from 2006-’09, New Trier won two state championships (2008, 2006) — the program’s only state titles.
Under Ravenscraft, New Trier has won seven straight regional titles, and finally earned a sectional championship in 2022. This year, the Trevians (21-1-3) are taking things a step further in the midst of a one-loss campaign.
But it has not come easy. The Trevians faced battle after battle in the Central Suburban South, tying for second place after a loss to Glenbrook North and draw with Maine South. After a playoff-opening rout, the Trevians have had four straight difficult tests — a 2-1 regional win against Taft after penalty kicks; a 3-1 double-overtime win over Evanston; a 2-1 win sectional win against Leyden; and then Wednesday’s one-goal victory over the Saints.
New Trier and St. Charles East went scoreless through the first half in the supersectional. But just minutes into the second half, the Trevs snagged the lead. Sophomore Calyx Hoover took a pass from Oliver Fernandez and fired a ball far post and past the Saints keeper to make it 1-0.
About 15 minutes later, the Saints recorded the equalizer, but the draw didn’t hold for long.
The Trevians drew a free kick just a few minutes later and Aidan O’Neill found Farina for the game-winning goal.
“Our senior captain, the fourth of four Farina brothers to come through New Trier, put the team on his back in that moment,” Ravenscraft said.
New Trier’s defense held the rest of the way, and Ravenscraft credited nearly every man on the roster for their contributions during the playoff run.
“It’s come together over time,” he said. “We’ve fine tuned our rotation, but the boys just believed. This group doesn’t waver under pressure or when they’re on the back foot. … We like to build play and … create movement off the ball and find a free man. That’s just who we are. We’ve done that all season and tonight was no different.”
New Trier will play familiar foe, Glenbrook North, in a state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, at Hoffman Estates High School. The Spartans handed the Trevians their only loss on the season, a 2-1 defeat on Sept. 11.
At 21-3-2, the Spartans losses came at the hands of Evanston (2-1, Sept. 14), Niles North (5-2, Oct. 5) and Grayslake Central (1-0, Oct. 10). Glenbrook North beat Palatine 2-1 to win the Fremd Sectional and then topped Elgin in penalty kicks — after a 0-0 draw in regulation and overtime — to advance to the state’s final four.