MT. PROSPECT -- An 80th-minute equalizer from Charlotte Dellin earned visiting New Trier a 1-1 draw on a windy, rainy Thursday night in an nonconference contest at George Gattis Memorial Stadium against host Prospect.
Natalie Bouzas’ goal in the 32nd minute looked to be enough to give the Knights (1-0-1) their first-ever victory over the Trevians (1-0-1), until Dellin rescued the visitors with just under a half minute remaining from time.
"I thought we had a pretty good start tonight. Then Prospect was just flying all over the place (and) really put us under a lot of pressure," said Trevians’ manager Jim Burnside, whose club just 24 hours earlier collected an 1-0 home victory over Warren on an Annie Paden strike.
“We probably were lucky to go into the half chasing just one goal, and not two."
Prospect coach Tom Froats praised his team.
"(It) was a tough result on the scoreboard, especially after a real solid first half, but as I shared with the girls afterward, ‘Don't let the score diminish in any way the effort put forth. You played as a team. The score could have certainly been different.’ Both teams left scoring opportunities out there tonight,"
The Knights manager will retire from teaching and coaching following the end of the school year.
Froats got his start in 1994. As a first-year manager, he led the boys program to its first Mid-Suburban League Soccer Bowl appearance against eventual state champion Palatine, who beat the Knights 1-0.
The home side found itself defending far more than it would have liked during the opening 10 minutes as the New Trier quartet of Lida Dodge, Josie Noble, Dellin and Paden stayed connected with purpose. The Trevians midfield won the bulk of the 50/50 challenges.
"We had a really good start tonight,” said Noble. “Then our play kind of fell off when we stopped doing the things we were doing. That caused us to struggle during the rest of the first half."
Noble was one of five sophomores in Burnside’s First 11 in the Trevians sectional loss to Evanston last season.
"Even though we have a lot of players back from last year's team, there's still that newness that you have, because it's so early in the season, and we're still basically a young team," added Noble.
"We didn't have a very good start tonight. We didn't communicate very well and were not as organized as we should have been in our end," said Bouzas, whom along with her backline mates Mia D'onofrio, Paige Hall and Julia Valentini drew plenty of praise from Froats.
"Our back four had a very nice game in order to contain a very talented and dynamic New Trier attack," said the Knights manager.
Dodge, a Chicagoland Soccer 2022 All-Stater, was the first of the night to test either keeper when the senior had a go from 25 yards in the 7th minute. Noble followed with a shot over the bar three minutes afterward.
Prospect slowly came into the game just before the quarter hour behind the senior trio of Lauren Harrell, Maggie Rosenberg and Jillian Sawadski, who brought the attack for the home side alive.
The speed, pace, and desire of this threesome who was evident as they took turns as providers and dividers and were key to a sensational half hour of play right up until the first half was whistled over.
New Trier felt the pressure.
"(They) were giving us a lot of trouble along the outside, and we just were not winning balls anywhere (which) allowed them to basically take control of the rest of the first half," said Dellin, who along with D'onofrio shared Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honors.
It looked as if Prospect would strike first if not for an acrobatic save from Trevians keeper Caroline Hague, who elevated and provided a late glove that took a seemingly sure goal away from Sawadski, who redirected D'onofrio's 13th-minute free kick blast.
This near-scoring effort brought others into the game for the Knights. Kayley Bouzas played a near perfect role at the six, winning a lot of balls and distributing. Midfielders Abby Davis and Kate Woodland helped keep the play tilted in favor of the home side.
Natalie Bouzas was the Mid-Suburban League East Division Co-Player of the Year along with Kora Kipley, of Buffalo Grove, a year ago.
"I thought our backline did a great job of keeping us in the first half,’ said Dellin. “Clara Deliduka, who played midfield last year, is doing fantastic at center back, and it showed tonight. Especially in the second half when we went from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2."
Burnside sent in Sofia Palmer at 12 minutes. She is working through a minor injury in favor of Olivia Wilson in his backline.
Palmer fould Noble in the 25th minute, however, Noble's attempt on frame was easily saved by sophomore, Sarah Bradbury, who was between the sticks for the Knights.
While Burnside brought in fresh legs throughout the first half, Froats kept his reserves dry and warm on the Knights bench. He made his first substitution just after the second-consecutive corner from the visitors in the 31st minute.
D'onofrio rattled the bar with her snap shot off a deep throw in the 34th minute. Moments later, the Knights stunned their guests when a well driven free kick from D'onofrio bounded off of Hague and sat long enough for Natalie Bouzas to steer it into the back of the net.
"(It) all happened so fast. It looked like the ball came off of their keeper. So, I tried to get enough of the ball to put it into the back of the net," recounted Natalie Bouzas of her 36th minute goal.
New Trier tried to answer before the break. Noble headed over the bar, created a corner and then watched teammates Sybil Evans and Dellin have a go before the intermission.
"At the half we changed formations, going with a 3-5-2 to add an extra player in the middle in order to slow them down on the outside, (be) better at winning 50-50 balls and to do what every New Trier team has done forever -- to take the ball to the endline, cut back, and put balls in," said Dellin.
The momentum boost the Trevians hoped to build from their late first half push failed to materialize. Instead, Prospect ascended.
Harrell ran onto a long ball from out of the back, but an alert Hague came quickly off her line to win a 50/50 challenge.
Moments later, a deep throw from D'onofrio forced Hague back in action with a strong hand to clear her area. Then it seemed like an eternity as a scrum inside the box finally led to the Trevians defense clearing the hot potato out of the box.
After a nervy 10 minutes inside its own end, the Trevians began to get back on their collective front feet.
Inspired by Lauren Caldwell, whose industrious runs up the right side stretched the Knights defense much more than in the first half, the backline of Kennedy Colegrove, Deliduka and Honor Dold became more active in the attack.
"We were not sharp or smart with the ball in the first half, and we certainly did not play quick enough,” Burnside said. “In the second half we were much better in those areas."
Noble's corner in the 64th minute caused some trouble for the home side. Bradbury's initial save led to the ball spilling freely near the spot, where an opportunistic Caldwell missed with her one-timer.
Both sides had half-hearted attempts on goal following the Trevians best all-around effort. New Trier upped the tempo and played with more confidence. It showed in its pass-completion percentage, yet the visitors could not create clear-cut opportunities on frame.
"We were much better keeping the ball, and moving it around, but we could have been, and must be better in creating chances," said Burnside.
When the rain, and wind increased for the final 10 minutes of action, the play became more frantic. The home side knew one more goal would insure victory; the visitors threw everything forward to draw level.
A trio of deep throws from D'onofrio led to one quality effort that went just wide from Harrell in the 72nd minute.
On the other end of the park, Dellin, who remembered the call to get to the endline, did just that with a strong move on the right side. She gained enough time and space to turn to provide a lovely ball to the spot for Paden, who was unable to beat Bradbury.
With the clock nearing 30 seconds from time, it was the Paden-Dellin duo that dashed the hopes of the Knights.
"All the credit to Annie, who turned her defender in order to get endline before cutting back and putting a nice ball into the box," began Dellin.
"The ball Annie sent in looked to go off the shoulder of their keeper, and just fell inside the box. I guess it was a case of being in the right place at the right time for me and our team.
"We played back-to-back games, and learned a lot about what we need to continue to work on. I know when we get it all together we're going to be a very good team."
Added Noble: "We were able to get through our first two games, and we'll only get better if we put the time in. It's just going to take us all a little time to sort things out and to get to know each other a little better out there."
The Trevians, who are ranked fifth in the Chicagoland Soccer First 50 preseason poll, saw their Saturday match against Carmel postponed due to the weather. Next up is Niles West’s visit to Northfield for the home and conference openers Monday.
"I thought we might be a little further along in many parts of our game, but I have to remember it's early,” said Burnside. “We played on back-to-back nights, tonight against a very good Prospect team. Plus the girls are still settling into the way we want to play, and where they will be in the lineup.”
Despite the late disappointment, Froats found plenty of positives to bring forth from his club, which returns 14 players from his defending Mid-Suburban League East Division championship club that is favored to repeat.
"We talked before the match that there are certain matches that will reveal to us the caliber and character of our team," began Froats, whose club went 15-5-1 overall, and 8-2-1 in the division last season.
"New Trier played with a championship effort that demanded from us the same in return. I am proud of our group, and to know that we can bring the same high level of championship effort and energy is exciting as we move forward.”
The Knights won their opener 3-0 against Cary-Grove on goals from Harrell, Rosenberg, and Natalie Bouzas. Prospect, which ranked 50th in the First 50, will face league rival Palatine at home Monday in their league opener.
New Trier (4-3-3)
G- Caroline Hague
D- Honor Dold
D- Clara Deliduka
D- Sofia Palmer
D- Kennedy Colegrove
M- Lauren Caldwell
M- Annie Paden
M- Lida Dodge
F- Josie Noble
F- Sybil Evans
F- Charlotte Dellin
G- Sarah Bradbury
D- Julia Valentini
D- Natalie Bouzas
D- Paige Hall
D- Mia D'onofrio
M- Maggie Rosenberg
M- Kayley Bouzas
M- Kate Woodland
M- Abby Davis
F- Jillian Sawadski
F- Lauren Harrell
Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match:
Charlotte Dullin, jr., F, New Trier;
Mia D'onofrio, sr., D, Prospect
Referee: Boris Vukovic
Prospect: N. Bouzas (D'onofrio), 36'
New Trier: Dallin (Paden), 80'
Tag(s): New Trier