After two weeks of statewide playoffs and several close games including New Trier`s dramatic comeback in the semi-finals against Hinsdale Central, the top two seeds, Loyola Academy and New Trier emerged on Friday to face off for the title at Glenbrook North.
The game started off all New Trier as Trevian Junior, Katherine Gjertsen won the opening draw and fed Isabelle Sennett for the game`s first goal. A Loyola turnover was followed by a Darby Tingue tally from a Lucy Murray pass and shortly after it was Gjertsen feeding Tace Southerland for yet another Trevian goal. After Sophie King fed Gjertsen for goal #4, Loyola took a timeout to settle things down.
A Brennan Dwyer shot deflected off of New Trier goalie China Trerletola and Clare Eilers and Bailey Busscher went up for the ball and Busscher tapped it in to get Loyola on the board. Rambler Junior Dwyer cut and a precise pass from Senior Tessa Waters led to the second goal. Caroline Witkowski then found an open Mary Dooley and the two Juniors helped Loyola get goal #3 in the run. A Madison Kane free position shot tied the score half way through the first half.
Loyola retained momentum as Colleen Huffman followed a NT foul with an 8 meter score that gave the Ramblers the lead, but not for long as Lucy Murray rolled the crease and the Trevian Freshman crossed the front of the cage and made a nice shot back to the low corner to tie the score at 5.
Loyola followed with a Tessa Waters goal from Madison Kane; a Colleen Huffman score assisted by fellow Junior Libby Germano; two more Mary Dooley goals, a free position and a hard drive to goal; a Waters tally on a pass from Brennan Dwyer and a Bailey Busscher score assisted by Dooley to make the score at halftime 11-5 in favor of the Ramblers.
Both teams regrouped at half from the furious pace of the opening half and a recasting of the momentum that Loyola earned after the Trevians owned it at the outset. It didn`t take long, as Brennan Dwyer won the opening draw of the half and sped through New Trier`s defense to score and complete the 12-1 run.
But New Trier had been a dangerous comeback team all year and Sophie King nailed a Katherine Gjertsen feed to get the Trevians back on the board. From there it seemed the teams traded scores as New Trier got goals from Gjertsen, Southerland and Sennett (from Gjertsen) and Loyola answered with goals from Colleen Huffman (asst Caroline Witkowski ); Madison Kane from Katie Enrietto; Kane from Katherine Eilers and Enrietto on a free position.
After Madison Kane was fed by Caroline Witkowski, Trevian Audrey Kingdom hit Isabelle Sennett and a Molly Foley pass to Dwyer, who dodged and scored the game`s final goal giving the Ramblers the 18-10 victory.
For New Trier it was a wonderful season with two big come from behind wins over Hinsdale, concluding 19-5 and once again ranked as one of the very top teams in the Midwest.
Loyola finished winning 17 games in a row after returning from DC and beating top teams in the Midwest including Rockford MI and Eden Prairie, MN. It does mark the Ramblers 8th consecutive IHSWLA Championship.
After the game, Loyola head coach John Dwyer had plenty of credit to pass around:
"New Trier was a very dangerous team and we witnessed their strong comebacks against Hinsdale early in the year, an impressive St. Charles team in the quarter-finals and the amazing semi-final game with Hinsdale.
Our defense, once we settled in, played with heart and grit led by Caroline Thompson, Molly Foley, Taylor Kozloski, Hannah Burgess and Erin Dowdle and our goalie Ana Freda made several big saves (7) at key moments of the game.
Offensively we had 5 girls score 3 goals ( Brennan Dwyer, Bailey Busscher, Colleen Huffman, Madison Kane and Mary Dooley) Tessa Waters 2 and Katie Enrietto`s one. So a very balanced attack.
But perhaps the key was draw controls where we held an 18-12 edge with Brennan winning 12 of them.
We took a powerful shot from a very good New Trier team, but showed a great deal of heart and desire to play for each other and the Seniors.
A huge part of the credit goes to our coaching staff of Kathleen Dwyer, Paige Jones and Brooke Jones for their tireless efforts."