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Game story: New Trier starts strong against Warren

By Bobby Narang, 03/14/24, 1:15PM CDT


No. 6 Trevians collect strong 3-0 win in Gurnee

GURNEE – Expectations are very high for New Trier.

Like sky-high high.

After Tuesday’s dominating 3-0 road victory over Warren, the Trevians completed the first step in their march to numerous season goals, including the state tournament at North Central College.

New Trier, which lost in a Class 4A supersectional in two of the last three seasons, is loaded with talent. With a chip on its shoulder from the team’s Final Four drought, the Trevians displayed their immense potential in the wire-to-wire effort against Warren.

Senior and Chicagoland Soccer All-Stater Josie Noble scored the first two goals and classmate Cybil Evans added a second half insurance netter to lead the no. 6 ranked team in the First 50 preseason poll, to an impressive opener.

Even veteran coach Jim Burnside, who has won six state championships, was astounded by the victory.

“They came out ready to play tonight,” he said. “Still, there’s room for growth. They listened a lot and also made sure they were trying to do what we asked them to do. We have kids from 14 different club teams coming back, so it takes some time to jell. The first half we were feeling. The second half we started to work.”

The season-opener for both teams looked to be a cold night upon first glance at the schedule. The teams have opened the season against each other for three-straight seasons. The Trevians pulled out a 1-0 win over the Blue Devils last season en route to a 23-3-1 finish. In 2022, the two teams played to a 1-1 tie.

With most of the fans in light jackets, Burnside said he enjoyed the spring-like weather – and his team’s stellar play.

“I thought we were rock solid in the back,” he said. “Our midfield did a great job possessing the ball, and then it’s just the offensive third, which is really the hardest part of the game. If we can be at this point at the start of the season, I’m pretty happy. The weather was great. We were stringing together some passes. There’s nothing to complain about.”

On the other side, Warren had very little offense, especially in the first half. The experienced Trevians pushed them to the limit, but the start of the season is a time for growth, coach Ryan McCabe said. The Blue Devils, listed at no. 25 in the First 50, are coming off a 10-6-3 season, but welcome back star junior forward and Chicagoland Soccer All-Stater Addison Stanciak, who scored 23 goals and distributed five assists last season. She committed to St. Louis University in the offseason. The Blue Devils graduated one starter from last season, so McCabe said he’s hoping the eye-opener against the Trevians will help his team regroup for a strong showing in the North Suburban Conference and the playoffs.

Warren junior goalie Emma Megerle finished with seven saves, including two highlight-reel stops to keep the game within reach.

“They are definitely a very talented team,” McCabe said of New Trier. “I thought we did well at times. I love playing this game against New Trier. It’s a nice test early. You want to learn a little bit about yourselves. You have all these ideas and ambitions in how you want to play. You have to play until you get punched in the mouth. That’s why we play them, so they can test us, see what we need to fix and work on and hopefully improve on those things for our next game.”

The Blue Devils nearly scored a goal during a five-minute flurry of attack late in the second half that featured several corner kicks and throw-ins.

“That’s when we were playing some of our better ball,” McCabe said. “We started to settle into a rhythm. I had four freshmen who played and got some considerable minutes, so it was about understanding the high school game and feeling comfortable and getting into a bit of a flow. It was nice we were able to get there toward the end of the game, something we can build off.”

McCabe said his team will grow from the loss. One concern for the Blue Devils was a lower left leg injury to Stanciak, who was voted the team MVP last season, with 15:20 left in regulation. She limped off the field and did not return.

“New Trier is a really nice team,” McCabe said. “They know where their players are pretty much all the time. They always have the outlet pass available and they know how to find it. They are tough on 50/50 balls, which is something I think we need to improve on a bit. Obviously, they just get numbers around the ball and are very dangerous. There were several things we can take from that.”

The opening 20-plus minutes featured little action, but the large crowd didn’t mind the lack of shots, not when the spring-like weather made for an unusually enjoyable warm March evening. The nonconference battle even drew a few players from Libertyville – all proudly displaying Wildcats’ jackets – to watch part of the game.

Noble broke the ice with 14:58 left in the first half, finding herself near the 20-yard line with a direct shot from the middle of the field. At first, Noble took a second to glance in both directions. She realized she was wide open and followed with a cannon shot that smacked the bottom of the crossbar and landed inside the net for a 1-0 lead.

“That was my first shot of the year,” Noble said. “Our team was possessing pretty well, but the only thing we were missing was shots on goal. We had to get one to get us going. I kind of looked up and there was no one on me, so just took it, and it went in.”

The Trevians nearly tacked on another goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Megerle made a diving save in the 45th-minute. Two minutes later, Megerle benefitted from the crossbar after a shot by Noble drilled the standard and took a big bounce before the keeper corralled the ball.

But Noble, the Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match, was undeterred. She knocked in a short shot from the box for a 2-0 edge with 27:52 remaining in the game.

“We have a nice little throw-in play,” Noble said of her second goal. “It set me up pretty well. I just tapped it in. We’ve all been fired up, but all we needed was one game and one win to get us going and get us motivated. We have the confidence and are ready and know our team is good.”

New Trier senior centerback and returning all-stater Clara Deliduka said the opener was a good statement win. 

Junior goalie Caroline Hague spent most of the game in isolation, finishing with one save. Hague’s lone save, though, was a memorable one. She leaped high for a tap-out save on a hard-hit shot with just under 15 minutes left in the game.

“The ultimate goal for every team is state, so every step of the way is important,” she said. “Starting it off with a 3-0 win is great. It just continues our momentum. We want to keep taking steps forward, not back. I think keeping the energy high is important. We have to stay together as a team and push and we can get the goals and wins.”

New Trier’s team is vastly different than past units, mainly due to the influx of experienced club players joining the program and five freshmen on the roster. New Trier senior forward/midfielder Jaime Elias, a Texas Tech commit, is one of the newcomers. She experienced her first high school game and post-match interview.

“It’s really cool,” Elias said. “Coming in here as a senior is very different, but I would like to start off strong. I get to spend more time with the girls I see at school every day. It’s a very different environment. This is new for me. It’s fun. That’s all I’ve got to say. I’m excited to see where the season takes us. This was a good first game.”

Warren senior midfielder Reese Mertens, an honorable mention all-conference selection last season, said the Trevians gave her team a wake-up call.

“The first game is always tough because we’re still trying to learn to play together, and we’re a young team,” Mertens said. “The first game is where we learn from our mistakes and what we need to improve on. I think we definitely need to work on our speed of play. New Trier is a great first team to play. They really tested us.

“New Trier is a very fast and talented team, especially up-top. Their skill is crazy. For us, we need not to be timid. I think we were caught off-guard having them sprint toward us. We weren’t ready for it. Going forward, we will work on some 1-v-1s and improving in that regard. We have so much talent and will definitely improve as the season goes on. We didn’t really lose anyone from last year, plus got great (new) girls coming in. We added more skill and talent.”

Noble said the Trevians have worked on their games to set the bar high for this season.

“Something I’ve been working on to be better at this season is my pace of play,” Noble said. “I’ve learned that the faster I get the ball on and off my foot, the faster I make decisions and can take my game to the next level. Our team has a lot of high-level players this year. When the speed of play improves, the better we will be as a unit.”

Dellin, a senior forward, said Tuesday’s win was a good start for the Trevians.

“We have a lot of great athletes who all bring unique skill-sets and strengths to the team, such as speed, creativity, grit, IQ and much more,” Dellin said. “We all play incredibly well together. Another strength that we have that I think we’ve lacked a little bit the past two years is that we have a lot of experienced players, which has definitely helped us transition into the season seamlessly. We know what the coaches want and how we want to play.

“One change that I’ve noticed in myself since this recent club season is that I’m not afraid to take more chances when it comes to my shots and going for a goal. I’ve been trying to focus on improving my general finishing abilities.”

Evans, a senior, said one of the points of emphasis for her during the offseason was to become more of a scoring threat. She flashed a strong attacking game against the Blue Devils. Her goal showed off her work from the offseason. The game’s final tally came on a unique play. Evan’s took the corner kick, then raced to the box and scored.

“I’ve definitely focused on ways I can create scoring opportunities and ultimately help the team in any way I can,” she said.
Starting lineups
New Trier
GK: Caroline Hague
D: Kennedy Colegrove
D: Claire Deliduka
D: Basie Shannon
D: Honor Dold
MF: Addy Randall
MF: Charlotte Dellin
MF: Annie Paden
MF: Jaime Elias
F: Sybil Evans
F: Josie Noble        
GK: Emma Megerle
D: Kate Mondejar
D: Mia Gloria
D: Yazmin Lenzi
D: Maya Martinek
MF: Reese Mertens
MF: Sofia Ogren
MF: Arly Melchor
MF: Jelly Amezquita
F: Kimberly White
F: Addison Stanciak
Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match: Josie Noble, sr. F, New Trier

Scoring summary
First half
New Trier: Noble (unassisted), 26’
Second half
New Trier: Noble (unassisted), 53’
New Trier: Evans (unassisted), 59’