NORTHFIELD -- Possession is the name of the game in soccer. If you possess the ball more than your opponent, good things are likely to happen.
For New Trier, holding on to the ball had been something of a problem in back-to-back losses to Evanston and Naperville North last week. After Tuesday’s matchup with Central Suburban League South Division rival Glenbrook South, however, it might be fair to say that the Trevians got it back.
New Trier’s possession was what led to Charlotte Deliin’s second half goal. She put in a beautiful cross from Lauren Caldwell with 33 minutes, 37 seconds remaining to give the Trevians, ranked 12th in the Chicagoland Soccer Top 25, a 1-0 win over the visitors on an unusually brisk early May night.
“Lauren took a great touch toward the end line, and she had the space in front of her to where she could turn her hips and get the ball back to the middle,” Dellin said.
“I saw a gap in the defense. They had two in front of the goal and two by the 18. I just ran in the gap, called for it, and she played it back perfectly.”
“I saw Sybil (Evans) with the ball in the midfield and she’s a great passer,” Caldwell said about what led to her through-ball. “I knew she would be able to get it to me, because she knows where I’m going.”
Manager Jim Burnside was happy with how his team calmly controlled the ball without just soft passes.
“We did a really good job with possession today,” he said. “Every day, this team takes a step forward. Even if it’s a loss, we still take a little step forward. There were some good things we saw. They had a game plan we had to solve, and our kids did a good job.
“We started to find the angles, calmly switching fields. We were hitting some crisp passes, and that’s what happens when you let the ball do the work.”
On the other bench, Glenbrook South manager Mark Daniels expected more.
The Titans had come into the game playing well in their last six games. The offense began to find the net. But he didn’t see much of that same level of play against New Trier.
“We didn’t possess the ball as we could have,” he said. “Our touch was off, especially our first touch. It seemed like we were in a panic a lot.
“We worked hard, but it just didn’t come to us tonight. We just couldn’t create anything from that hard work.”
One bright spot for the Titans was the play of goalie Lyndsey Mack.
While the junior keeper didn’t put up huge save numbers, her ability to cut off shooting lanes, alter shots and force the Trevians to change their plan of attack helped keep her squad in the game until the end.
“Lyndsey did a great job back there, she really did,” Daniels said. “There were a couple of shots from long distance on her. We told her to be aware … and force them to play one way.
“If you know they’re right-footed, try to make them go left. And I think we did a pretty good job that way.”
“I have a lot of trust in my backline,” Mack said. “Facing as many crosses as we did, it was great to see us able to clear a lot of them out.”
Even though her team ended up on the wrong side of Tuesday’s result, Mack was happy with how her defense played in front of her. She knows that she’s always got a group she can trust.
“Our backline stepped up big time, especially since we’re in a new formation right now,” Mack said. “We communicate a lot in the back, I don’t think there’s a second I’m dead silent. I’m always yelling, whether it’s direction or something else.
“It’s a great feeling knowing those guys are there, because they work really hard to clear the ball and create chances. It all comes down to trust and communication at the end of the day, and our team has done a great job of that.”
One person she entrusted her teammates to contain was the Trevians’ speedster Caldwell, but it's almost impossible to do a perfect job.
The New Trier senior has tormented opponents with her pace down the sideline for the past three years. She always seems able to put the ball in a place where her teammates have a chance to do something special.
Like she did on her assist to Dellin.
“What helps me is really cutting in front of the defender, because it makes it harder for them to catch up,” she said. “I always find one moment where I can look up and see where everyone in the field is and that helps me decide where to pass it to and place the ball.”
One reason the Trevians were able to possess like they did was they were able to make some halftime adjustments after observing the Glenbrook South gameplan in the first half.
“We really started to communicate better and inspire each other more,” Dellin said. “Once we gained that confidence, it carried throughout the entire half and allowed us to claim every aspect.”
“I thought they were definitely trying to clog the middle and trying to force us to hit shots from outside,” Burnside said. “They did a good job at that and their goalkeeper played really well.
“What’s always the case is when you’re playing good teams, you have to take what they give you. In the first half, we did not do a good job of recognizing and implementing what they were giving us. At halftime we just talked about what we needed to do was solve their questions and that was to possess the ball, not jam it up the middle, and use the field. And we did a good job of that.”
Both teams now prepare for the season’s homestretch with multiple games next week before heading off to the state playoffs. This year, the IHSA decided, despite their close proximity, to split the teams into different sectionals but both feed into the New Trier Supersectional. The Trevians are the second seed in the Evanston Sectional, while the Titans are the eighth seed in the Glenbrook North Sectional.
“We want revenge after how our season ended last year,” said Mack of the 3-0 loss to Glenbrook North. “The hunger for wanting more, wanting a plaque, is really keeping us hungry.”
GK: Lyndsey Mack
D: Christina Papadatos
D: Emily Ibarra
D: Adyson Clemen
D: Katie Condon
D: Jackie Stadler
MF: Carolyn Cameranesi
MF: Lauren Koopersmith
MF: Claire Baim
F: Kate Winter
F: Sofia Sommer
GK: Caroline Hague
D: Kennedy Colegrove
D: Honor Dold
D: Clara Deliduka
MF: Sybil Evans
MF: Lydia Vassallo
MF: Lida Dodge
F: Lauren Caldwell
F: Josie Noble
F: Charlotte Dellin
F: Nora Westol
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Lauren Caldwell, senior, forward, New Trier
New Trier - Charlotte Dellin (Lauren Caldwell), 47th minute