New Trier’s Ian Vichnick could not have picked a better moment for what’s become a yearly tradition.
The running expression among the New Trier boys soccer team is that the Trevians’ senior midfielder is always fit for one goal per season. Vichnick found the back of the net on homecoming night during both his sophomore and junior seasons — but had yet to deliver his yearly goal this campaign.
Twelve minutes into the biggest game of his career, Vichnick made sure to keep his goal-scoring streak alive.
The Trevians’ senior captain fired a beautifully struck shot from 30 yards out in the middle of the pitch that rocketed into the top corner, giving New Trier an early lead in the Class 3A state championship game.
Vichnick’s moment of brilliance was just the beginning of the celebrations for the Trevians, who defeated Lyons Township High School 3-1, claiming the program’s first state championship since 2008 on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Hoffman Estates.
“It was just utter joy,” Vichnick said of his reaction to the opening strike, while noting that the Trevians’ strong build-up play early on made the team believe a goal was coming.
The Trevians’ superb play continued, and just 11 minutes later, senior Cole Driscoll scored New Trier’s second goal of the evening in the 24th minute.
New Trier created a quick counterattack led by senior Aidan O’Neill, who raced up the middle of the pitch with pace. O’Neill then dished a perfect pass to a streaking Driscoll who buried the strike into the bottom corner of the goal.
“I knew I was open and I knew that Aidan would get me the ball; he has really great distribution,” Driscoll said. “Aidan’s definitely a playmaker. He’s a leader on the field and off the field. … He’s just been a big part of making sure we’re always staying focused and locked in throughout the game.”
The Trevians dominated play throughout the first half, controlling possession of the ball for the overwhelming majority while limiting Lyons’ attack to few chances, none of which posed true threats at goal.
New Trier entered the game with a possession-focused mindset with the hope of stalling the Lions’ potent attack, which entered the title game with nine goals scored in their last three contests.
“It was really important that we kept the ball and that we controlled the tempo because when the game got stretched, and when we ended up defending set pieces and corners, we all saw how dangerous Lyons Township could be,” New Trier head coach Matt Ravenscraft said.
“So we had to be brave, we had to move the ball, and we had to find space, and that allowed us to have success not only in breaking them down but just killing portions of the game. That was key and we played some of our best soccer tonight.”
Lyons opened the second half with one of its best stretches of the game. The Lions created a pair of scoring chances but two saves from New Trier’s keeper Thomas Terry prevented a breakthrough.
New Trier put the matchup out of reach in the 53rd minutes thanks to the fantastic play of senior center back Kevin Farina. The Trevs star defender intercepted a Lyons pass attempt, then finished a brilliant unassisted run with a well-spotted shot he snuck past the Lions’ keeper to give New Trier a three-goal lead with 24 minutes to play.
“I took a big touch when I intercepted the pass and then no one was stepping up so I kind of just kept going forward,” said Farina, who played the striker position his entire soccer career until shifting to back line last season. “I wanted to score really badly so I was never passing that ball; I was taking it all the way,” he added.
Lyons scored its lone goal with just over 14 minutes to play when Mason Santos headed in a corner kick.
The goal was just the fifth that New Trier has conceded this postseason across its seven games during the team’s run to the state title. The Trevians’ strong back line of Farina, Liam Myers and Harrison Hahner once again kept its opposition at bay.
Just as it has all season, New Trier showcased its top-class midfield play, led by the stellar work of O’Neill.
O’Neill joined the Trevians this season after playing academy soccer for several years. Some recruiting by Farina and the team’s senior leaders certainly helped make the decision easier, but O’Neill has always dreamed of winning a state title with his fellow Trevians.
“I couldn’t have imagined it any better,” he said. “The memories that I’ve made this season, I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life. Beating Evanston two times in one year, beating GBN in the semifinals, all those memories and moments with these guys I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. I’m really grateful for the experience.”
Capturing the state title in dominant fashion is a fitting end to New Trier’s spectacular season that saw the Trevians win 23 games while dropping just one. And leaving Hoffman Estates with the state’s top prize is a moment the program and its players will never forget.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Ravenscraft said. “I burst into tears at the final whistle. It’s something that is every coach’s dream in this state and there’s a tremendous amount of coaches who do great work with their kids each and every season who deserve moments like this and maybe don’t get them, so I feel incredibly blessed to be here.
“These are memories, from this weekend and from this state run, that I will have for the rest of my life, that the boys will have and that their families will have,” he later added.
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Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.