Winnetka, Sports

New Trier hangs tough to win state championship thriller in penalty kicks

It may have felt like a movie to New Trier soccer senior Josie Noble, but even Spielberg would be jealous of this script.

A steady rainfall under the lights on a cool evening, a state championship on the line, lead changes, controversy, overtime, a shootout.

And — if you’re the Trevians — a happy ending.

“Honestly, It felt like we were watching a movie,” Noble said. “Going down, going up, going down again. It was just insane. (A) freshman scoring amazing goals, all your friends and family here, nighttime, overtime, PKs, it’s really amazing.”

To cue the credits, New Trier goalkeeper Annie Fowler made a save on St. Charles North’s fifth penalty kick, giving the Trevians a thrilling victory and the IHSA Class 3A state championship on Saturday, June 1, at North Central College in Naperville.

Annie Fowler makes a save in the sudden-death penalty-kick round to clinch the Trevians’ victory.

The Trevians and North Stars matched each other (4-4) in the first round of penalty kicks, with Fowler making a save in that round as well to help force a second set of kicks.

The second round was one kick at a time, meaning the game would end when one team scored and the other couldn’t match. The Trevians sent up sophomore reserve Eleni Kanellos.

“She’s automatic. I knew that was in,” New Trier coach Jim Burnside said. “And that’s really cool, because it’s not an easy thing to do, to not be in the game, step up and bury one to win. That’s just impressive.”

Needing to convert, the North Stars were up, and it was Fowler’s turn for heroics — and redemption.

The freshman goalie was called for a rare violation at the end of regulation that resulted in the North Stars’ game-tying goal. When she had possession of the ball, Fowler purposefully released it before picking it up again. The spot foul gave North an indirect kick within 5 yards of the goal, which the North Stars converted to tie the game at 2-2 with about 1 minute to play in regulation.

“I was just trying to save it for my team,” Fowler said her shootout stop. “With that goal (at the end of regulation), it was a whole thing where I messed up. I owed it to my team.”

She added, “But my teammates they are awesome and they picked me up and now we’re here.”

To make the game-clinching save, Fowler had a feeling the North Stars’ shooter was going to her left and her intuition paid off. Her diving stop kickstarted a celebration and Trevians’ pileup on the pitch.

The win marks the seventh state championship for New Trier, and the first since 2014, all under Burnside, who is also the winningest coach in IHSA girls soccer history with 611 victories. The Trevians also have three runnerup finishes and three third-place finishes.

The Trevians gather around their state title — the seventh in program history.

New Trier finishes the season 25-2-4. Just two years ago, the Trevians tallied 11 wins, their lowest total since at least 1997. Last season, they lost to Libertyville in penalty kicks in the supersectional round of eight and this year they brought home the title.

Burnside said every group is unique, and with this year’s squad — which features 22 players who play on 14 different clubs and a handful of first-year Trevians, they had to gel and quick.

“Every (state championship team) has a different path,” he said. “This group, we said from Day 1, we’re starting from a place of trust. If we can do that, we will go a long way. If we have to build trust, we don’t have time, and we got to the point where it was just a team that played for each other.”

For Noble, one of a few four-year varsity Trevians, the win is a long time coming.

She and some of her classmates grew up watching a dominant New Trier soccer program, which won three straight championships between 2014-’16 and qualified for state in six straight seasons (2014-’19)

“This program is a dynasty. It’s just famous,” she said. “You dream about making this varsity team and you actually get there and do it and you are part of this thing bigger than yourself and all you want to do is play for your team, for your coaches. It’s about playing for the people around you.”

New Trier High School is at the top of Illinois high school soccer, as both the boys and girls Trevians soccer teams won state championships this season. The first time that has happened in school history.


New Trier got the scoring going early

Just six minutes into the match, Jaime Elias sent a slick cross to freshman Addy Randall near the far post, and Randall didn’t miss. The Trevians were up 1-0.

It didn’t take long for the North Stars to dial up the pressure.

Following a couple near-misses for North, Juliana Park fought off multiple New Trier defenders on the left side of the goal box, whirled and surprisingly fired a shot that drifted into the upper level of the goal. It was 1-1 in the 36th minute, a score that lasted into halftime.

Randall stood tall again in the second half.

A ball that squirted out of the box found its way to the freshman, who from about 35 yards away ripped an incredible shot up and over the North keeper to make it 2-1 Trevians.

Addy Randall celebrates following her first of two goals on the evening.

“She just is an engine,” Burnside said of Randall. “She just runs and runs. She is so focused and so fun.”

New Trier then did what it does best — held off their charging opponent — for the remaining 20 or so minutes.

But with 1:04 to go, the official called the goalie infraction deep in New Trier’s box, a penalty Burnside said he’s never seen called. North’s Laney Stark buried the ball off the indirect kick to send things to overtime.

In the extra period, North put New Trier on the ropes when Kaitlin Glenn took a feed from Rian Spaulding and, from about 10 yards away, chipped a shot far post and into the net. It was 3-2 North Stars — and it was the first time New Trier had given up three goals all season.

Five minutes later, New Trier ran a corner kick play to perfection. Senior Charlotte Dellin leaped to meet Annie Paden’s service just ahead of North’s keeper, and she headed it into the net with authority to tie things back up.

“It’s what this team does,” Burnside said about responding. “Charlotte Dellin on that corner kick, you could see in her body language, ‘I’m going to get on the end of this ball.’ And there was no doubt. She buried that thing. That is exactly the response you would expect.”

It was Dellin’s seventh goal of the postseason, a run that Burnside called one of the best in the history of New Trier soccer.

The 3-3 score held through the second overtime to lead to penalties, where New Trier won on its sixth attempt.  

“It is a dream to get this far, to see all your teammates working their hardest to have your back, and I have theirs,” Noble said. “It just means so much.” 

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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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