New Trier hands Wildkit girls first soccer loss
New Trier’s girls soccer program owns six state championship trophies, reason enough for opponents not to play the game the way the Trevians want to play it.
Evanston learned that hard lesson again Wednesday night at Lazier Field.
The kick-and-run style that produced all of that success helped pin a 2-0 loss on the previously undefeated Wildkits, snapping a string of 7 consecutive shutouts posted by the losers this spring.
Evanston, now 8-1-1 overall, will at least be guaranteed a rematch this year as the Central Suburban League South division has scheduled a second round of conference games to help limit travel during the coronavirus pandemic. The two rivals are set to meet again at New Trier on May 19th.
Two weeks from now, the Wildkits will be reminded that it’s a difficult chore to try to beat the Trevs (now 6-1-3 on the year) at their own game.
New Trier’s Caroline Finnigan scored in the 47th minute, and again in the 68th minute, to continue her school’s domination of the head-to-head rivalry. ETHS has only beaten the Trevians twice, in 2002 and in 2016, since New Trier started its string of state titles.
Evanston head coach Stacy Salgado wasn’t convinced that the best team won, even after the visitors dialed up the pressure on an ETHS defensive unit that has been outstanding so far this season. But in the second half, defenders Ruby Rogers, Carly Menocal and Sara Sollinger were under constant siege and goalie Caitlin Fitzpatrick recorded 6 saves.
A header by Finnigan --- following New Trier’s fourth corner attempt of the half --- found the back of the net with 33 minutes, 2 seconds left in the half, and she lobbed a short shot over the head of Fitzpatrick to seal the victory 20 minutes later.
“The next time we play them? We need to play calm, we need to play to our feet (possession soccer), and we need to play more as a unit,” Salgado said. “We played kick ball the entire second half. It wasn’t that we got outplayed, it’s just that we didn’t play our game.
“They played hard and they wanted it more than we did in the second half. We’re not a kick and run type of team, like they are, where they line up and chase after the ball. That’s how they like to play, but that’s not our strength. I don’t necessarily like having to play each conference team two times all the way through like we have to this year, but, hopefully, we won’t stoop down to play at a different level when we play them again.”
New Trier’s offensive pressure turned out to be the best defense employed by the winners, because Evanston only mustered one shot on goal in the second half. A 30-yard rocket by Adriana Merriam, just back off the injured list, almost paid off but she was denied on a leaping one-handed swat by New Trier keeper Wynne Hague.