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Game story: New Trier's sparkling form too much for Evanston

By Mike Garofola, 04/22/24, 12:00AM CDT


Trevians give Wildkits 1st loss of season after 2-0 decision

By Mike Garofola

NORTHFIELD -- The soccer axiom “Goals win games - defense wins championships” has stood the test of time.

However, never forget that the little things in the sport can profoundly affect the outcome of a game. Saturday afternoon at Robert Naughton Field, it was indeed the little things that carried no. 9 New Trier to a crucial 2-0 Central Suburban League South Division win over archrival and third-ranked Evanston.

The Trevians scored twice, were magnificent in their defending and most of all won an extraordinary amount of first and second ball opportunities to short circuit the high-octane attack of the visiting Wildkits.

Two goals in the first 20 minutes, a high-energy work-rate and plenty of balance from box-to-box led to the victory over previously undefeated Evanston (10-1-1, 1-1-0).

"We preach over and over again how important it is to win the first and second ball chances," began New Trier manager Jim Burnside. “In a game like today (against) a great opponent like Evanston, it was most important for us to come out and be successful in that area.

"We came out and played a great first half of soccer, doing all the right things on both sides of the ball. We followed up with another strong second half in what was close to a complete 80 minutes of soccer."

"We came out with so much energy," said senior Annie Paden, who shared Chicagoland Soccer MVP of the Match honors with Clara Deliduka, a distinction that could have included one or two more Trevians. “That early first goal just gave us all we needed to go out and play a great first half to set the tone for the rest of the game.”

"(Burnside) and our coaching staff really stress the first and second ball thing," added Deliduka. “Our focus on that before and all the way through this game was really clear. It was our energy and trust in each other that was the difference today.”

Deliduka, a Chicagoland Soccer all-stater last season, and her backline mates Kennedy Colegrove, Honor Dold and Basie Shannon were organized, disciplined and difficult to break down on this windy and chilly, yet sunny April afternoon.

The unit was tactically precise in the way it defended an Evanston attack which had collected 44 goals in its first 11 games. Thirty-seven of them came from the superb quartet of Bridget Durkin, Jocelyn Leigh, Alexandria Merriam and Sydney Ross.

"I felt like we came ready to play today," said an obviously disappointed Durkin, who wears the captain’s armband proudly for manager Stacy Salgado. “But that early first goal and another one shortly thereafter made us play too frantic and took us out of our game altogether.”

"New Trier did what they do well today, defend and pressure as a team," added Salgado, whose club will now prepare for its next league opponent, Glenbrook North, at home Tuesday. “They are dangerous in their dead ball and set piece opportunities, and we just didn't have a real good control of things out there today."

The match, which may decide who claims the conference championship trophy, turned around in the blink of an eye when the Wildkits found themselves up against it after four minutes.

That's when the first of several New Trier serves ended up in the back of the net. The 6-foot-1 Shannon elevated high over a crowd near the six to thump her header past keeper Shea Lucas, who had no chance to stop the effort.

"Those first goals are so big, especially against a team like Evanston," said Paden, who along with a handful of other veterans had lost the last three years to the Wildkits, including a 3-0 decision a year ago.

With the aforementioned Deliduka and Dold providing an air-tight central defending partnership, Paden was stationed just in front of her back four as the six to offer added protection. Charlotte Dellin expertly held the ball up-top and the rest of the home side engaged the ball on both sides of the pitch. The Trevians treated their fans to a highly entertaining half hour of soccer.

Shannon's long-range, wind-aided free kick from the midline sailed just wide of the back post in the 16th minute.

With the visitors struggling to possess, the home side doubled its advantage.

An inch-perfect serve into the box from Paden found all-stater Josie Noble, who was the first one up in the air to meet the helper and redirect it with a fierce header into the back of net in the 20th minute.

"New Trier was very good in the air today, which we knew, but we didn't do well with it ourselves," said Durkin.

Minutes after the Noble goal, the Wildkits attack showed some life when Ross connected with Leigh from the middle of the park. She beat her mark to the outside but drove her effort over from 25 yards.

This chance did not slow the Trevians, who showed no signs of falling off during the last quarter hour of the half.

Now brimming with confidence and playing without fear or nerves, the Trevians created several more chances before the intermission.

Noble went wide after a nice one-two with Jamie Elias. Talented freshman forward Addy Randall forced Shea Lucas into action after tricking her way in from the right side on two occasions.

Randall's second effort led to yet another first half corner in which Dellin headed just over the bar after another quality Paden serve.

Evanston tried to answer when Leigh attacked down the left side on consecutive solo-efforts. Her second from 25 yards tested Trevians keeper Annie Fowler for the first time in the game.

A Ross snap-shot from just outside 20 yards went wide but offered some promise as both sides went into the 10-minute break.

"We were coming off a great effort to win the Malnati's title last weekend over Naperville North and another win this week against Maine South,” said Durkin. “I feel like all of us were ready to start strong today.

"After those two goals came so early, we got away from playing the way we have been. Except for a few moments here and there in the first and second half, it was pretty much their game."

"We felt good about our two-goal lead at the half," said Deliduka. “But we also knew that we had to continue playing the way we did in the first 40 minutes, because of how dangerous Evanston can be.”

Outdone in the first half, but now with the wind at its back, the Wildkits knew pulling one back would make life less comfortable for its hosts.

Off the second half whistle, Durkin and Leigh connected nicely to give the visitors an active start to the second half.

Two free kicks from Ross, which both ended harmlessly into the gloves of Fowler, were all the Wildkits could muster after what looked like a promising beginning to the half.

With New Trier’s Maeve Driscoll, Dellin, Noble and Randall in form and operating at a consistently high pace, it would not be until just after the hour that the play would tilt a little more in favor of the visitors.

Durkin was again at the heart of most of the play. She combined with freshman Sophie Hunwick twice, driving to the endline all alone before playing a wonderful ball, but Shannon parried it away with a nice side-footed effort.

Leigh saw her right-footed blast blocked on the way in as the Wildkits continued to press. But that would be it for the visitors, who needed Damilola Adeniyi to take one off the line in the 68th minute to keep New Trier from another score.

"There is a lot of soccer ahead of us," said Salgado. “The girls know what we're capable of. So, we'll just get back at it on Monday and put this one behind us.”

"None of us feel good about this result," added Durkin, who showed great class in defeat. “But a game like this is one that we can all learn from. That's the best thing we can take from today."

New Trier, now 11-2-3 overall and 1-0-2 in league play, enjoyed a busy and highly successful week. It included two wins in group play of the Naperville Invitational and advancement into the quarterfinals April 25. The Trevians meet Waubonsie Valley at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fremd High School.

"Obviously I am very proud of the effort put forth by the girls today, " Burnside began. "The pressure we kept on them all throughout was a key to our victory, as was the first and second ball success that we enjoyed. 

"We have only conceded four goals this season, one of which came via a PK. That may have been overlooked before today. We dominated for long stretches against a great opponent."

"We all were totally locked in for the full 80 minutes," said Paden. “That's what I am most proud of today.”

Starting lineups

Evanston (4-3-3)
GK- Shea Lucas
D- Maddie Ball
D- Maizlyn Kelly
D- Damilola Adeniyi
D- Sydney Johnson
M- Sydney Ross
M- Mia Darer
M- Maddy Varela
F- Alexandra Merriam
F- Bridget Durkin
F- Jocelyn Leigh

New Trier (4-3-3)
GK- Annie Fowler
D- Basie Shannon
D- Honor Dold
D- Clara Deliduka
D- Kennedy Colegrove
M- Maeve Driscoll
M- Annie Paden
M- Josie Noble
F- Jamie Elias
F- Charlotte Dellin
F- Addy Randall

Chicagoland Soccer MVPs of the Match: Clara Deliduka, sr., D, New Trier; Annie Paden, sr., DMF, New Trier

Referee: Hannah Shehaiber

Scoring summary

First half
New Trier: Shannon (Paden), 4'
New Trier: Noble (Paden), 20'

Second half 
No scoring