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Poll: Final 50 (girls, 2024)

By Patrick Z. McGavin , 06/05/24, 12:00PM CDT



In the vivid and intense aftermath of the stunning conclusion of the Class 3A state title game Saturday night at North Central College, giddy release, joy, and inconsolable grief intertwined.

For all of it savvy, grace under pressure and poise, New Trier turned to the extraordinary play of two freshmen, keeper Annie Fowler and midfielder/forward Addy Randall.

Randall scored two goals, and Fowler made two showstopping and extraordinary stops during the penalty shootout for the 5-4 New Trier shootout victory after a 100-minute 3-3 draw.

New Trier captured the seventh state championship in program history. The Winnetka school completed a remarkable double not seen since Naperville North during the 2018-19 sports season.

In that school year, the Huskies boys capped a perfect season with the 1-0 victory over Libertyville in the fall, and the girls program outlasted Barrington in a shootout for the bookend titles.

New Trier established new benchmarks of excellence, setting a new record for consecutive shutouts in a season.

The Trevians also matched their peers on the boys side with earning the top-ranking of the Final 50, the exclusive statewide poll published by Chicagoland Soccer to honor the best programs of the season, public and private, regardless of class or geographical location.

Penalty shootouts seem a distinctly unfair and arbitrary way to create a winner between two talented and disciplined sides.

The previous two times the St. Charles North girls reached a state championship, they walked away as runner-ups: Naperville North scored a goal in the final minute of the fourth overtime for a 1-0 victory in 2012; and the North Stars fell 2-1 to New Trier coach Jim Burnside's 2004 undefeated team 2-1 in the old two-class system.

(Congratulations to North Stars' coach Brian Harks, who earned his 150th career victory with the 1-0 win over Fremd in the semifinal round.)

Overtimes of the past, with the golden goal, are now replaced by two mandatory 10-minute periods. Had the old rule been in place this season, St. Charles North would have received the top prize on the basis of the 83rd minute goal by Kaitlin Glenn

The top players hold a keen eye on the top prize, no matter the division of competition. In the Class AA tournament, Crystal Lake Central midfielder Olivia Anderson said the team was bound and determined to improve on its third place finish last year.

The Tigers, Notre Dame (Peoria) and Triad were about as tightly bound as scientifically and mathematically possible.

Crystal Lake Central played Notre Dame played a 2-2 draw in early May. Triad, after competitive early defeats against downstate Class 3A powers O’Fallon and fourth place-finisher Edwardsville, made its own charge to the state championship game.

The Knights’ 1-0 state semifinal victory over Notre Dame on a 74th-minute goal underscored just how tightly the matches were contested at the top of Class AA.

Let’s also give it up for teams that refused to yield, and fought through adversity and hard times to reach Naperville. In Class AA, Burlington Central started 0-5-1. That early schedule included high-level 3A teams as part of the Rose Augsburg-Drach Invitational in St. Charles.

That early season tournament proved a true bellwether. St. Charles North beat Burlington Central in pool play, and then topped Crystal Lake Central in the championship game March 23 after the teams tied in a nonconference match March 12.

Burlington Central found its groove and went 12-2-0 in the 14 matches leading to the Final Four, where it finished fourth.

Their comeback story was surpassed by Class A power Althoff, which captured its second championship in four years with a 1-0 victory over Williamsville.

Playing teams like O’Fallon and Columbia, Althoff started 1-6-2. The Crusaders ended the season on a 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1).

For just the second time in girls state history, all three state championships were played on the same day, at the same site.

On the final Saturday of the season, five games played out amid unpredictable rainy weather that only made the swings of emotion, feeling and desire that much more raw and visceral.

Whatever the conditions last weekend, the remarkable young players performed at their highest-possible levels.

Here is a final tribute to their accomplishments and capabilities.

Editor's note: FRSR, ranking from Week 9 of the Chicagoland Soccer polls.

Rank Team FRSR First 50 rank Record Comment
1 New Trier 3 6 25-2-4 Precocious frosh Addy Randall scores twice in title game
2 St. Charles North 18 15 18-3-5 Forward Kaitlin Glenn helps North Stars reach championship match
3 Plainfield North 9 38 22-3-1 Tigers reload for another brilliant run
4 Lockport 1 10 24-1-0 Defender Emma Czech helped power 24-game winning streak
5 Fremd 19 9 17-5-4 Gemma Gillespie was awesome in the state finals
6 Lyons 8 5 19-4-3 Defender Jilian Herschenroether contributed to groundbreaking senior class
7 Barrington 2 3 19-2-1 Defender Roos VanRoekel scored a stunning 19 goals
8 Edwardsville 5 (Illinois 10) 14 17-5-1 Kylie Peel makes her name at state finals
9 O'Fallon 1 (Illinois 10) 1 19-2-1 Defending champ denied by Edwardsville in classic shootout
10 Naperville Central 20 29 14-6-1 Forward Bella Brozek returns with fantastic group of young talent
11 Benet 7 22 16-4-1 Annie Fitzgerald is a gifted performer
12 Naperville North 11 4 13-6-4 2 Annie Chang goals gave Huskies only area victory over New Trier
13 Metea Valley 5 2 14-4-1 Lucy Burk is a great shot creator and finisher
14 Lane 12 11 20-3-0 Kristi Sevova the heart of the best city team ever
15 Evanston 10 12 19-3-1 Jocelyn Leigh ends career as an all-time great
16 Libertyville 14 8 14-5-1 Molly Koch ends a terrific four-year run
17 Glenbrook South 13 13 14-3-6 Megan Murray made only high school season a memorable one
18 Crystal Lake Central 16 26 23-2-2 Tigers make history with AA championship
19 York 4 27 18-2-1 Defender Mia Barton part of elite back that posted 15 shutouts
20 Triad 6 (Illinois 10) 34 22-5-1 Knights capture seventh state trophy since 2003
21 Notre Dame (Peoria) 2 (Illinois 10) 40 25-2-1 Irish are young, gifted and a force to reckon with
22 Wheaton North 6 33 18-3-2 Zoey Bohmer is a talent for the ages
23 Glenbrook North 17 36 15-4-2 Spartans are a model of consistency
24 Stevenson 15 20 12-5-2 Ellie Egeland leaves a daunting shadow
25 Lake Zurich 23 28 17-3-3 Lauren Bailey is a top-tier talent
26 St. Charles East 22 21 16-5-6 Mackenzie Loomis ends her great career on a brilliant note
27 Glenwood 9 (Illinois 10) 7 17-7-1 The Law twins again left their mark
28 Loyola 24 30 13-8-4 Maria Nikas was a fantastic 2-way force for the Ramblers
29 Geneva HM 24 13-8-2 Marquette-recruit Lilly Coats powered sectional qualifier
30 Waubonsie Valley HM NR 11-8-2 Taylor Ahmadian powered comeback run
31 Hinsdale Central HM 19 15-8-0 Cate McDonnell was a stellar force for the Red Devils
32 Wheaton Warrenville South 25 NR 12-6-3 Illinois-recruit Ashlyn Adams is one of the state's top juniors
33 Huntley HM NR 15-5-4 Fox Valley Conference made a statement
34 Andrew HM NR 18-6-2 Thunderbolts ride to a supersectional berth
35 Oswego East HM 18 14-7-2 Anya Gulbrandsen is the greatest player in school history
36 Althoff NR NR 16-9-3 What a remarkable turnaround to Class A state title
37 Columbia 3 (Illinois 10) NR 22-4-1 Class A powerhouse beat New Trier
38 Richwoods 10 (Illinois 10) NR 21-4-1 Took Notre Dame (Peoria) to the brink
39 Minooka HM NR 15-6-2 Reached its 2nd-consecutive sectional championship game
40 Warren HM 25 13-8-1 Addison Stanciak solidified standing as an elite junior
41 Burlington Central NR NR 15-10-2 Mekenzie Rogers zoomed to elite status
42 Wheaton Academy 2 (Class AA Super 7) 49 18-1-3 Rebecca Schulenburg had exceptional 2-year career
43 Fenwick HM NR 11-7-3 Grace Kapsch completed a stellar 2-sport careert
44 Pleasant Plains (co-op) 4 (Illinois 10) NR 25-2-0 Stepped up a class and continued to dominate
45 Vernon Hills NR NR 11-7-2 Stunned Deerfield en route to sectional final run
46 Deerfield 1 (Class AA Super 7) 42 17-6-2 Addison Sorota is part of a historic, successful senior class
47 Lincoln-Way Central HM 17 11-6-3 Beat rival East to earn sectional semifinal
48 South Elgin HM NR 15-7-2 Nevaeh Gyurko is an elite scorer and creator
49 Glenbard West HM NR 10-8-3 Hana Allen is a very gifted sophomore
50 Bartlett 21 NR 11-5-4 Megan Kron put on a clinic at keeper