Girls soccer: Lyons comes up short against New Trier in supersectional loss

Trevians set state record with 17th shutout

New Trier's Maeve Driscoll (7) fights for the ball against Lyons' Leahla Frazier (16) and Josie Pochocki (2) during the Class 3A Dominican super-sectional between New Trier and Lyons Township in River Forest on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

RIVER FOREST – Senior midfielder Josie Pochocki and her Lyons Township girls soccer teammates faced quite an offensive challenge in the Class 3A Dominican University Supersectional Tuesday.

Opponent New Trier hadn’t surrendered a goal since April 11.

“I really wanted one badly,” Pochocki said. “It’s just upsetting I couldn’t put one in the back of the net but I think everyone gave it their all and tried the best we could do.”

The Lions nearly pulled it off with at least five quality shots – even during a driving first-half rain – but lost to the Trevians 1-0 in River Forest on senior Charlotte Dallin’s 25-yard direct kick with 23:34 remaining. The Lions (19-4-2) had reached the final hurdle to get downstate for the first time since 2021 after losing in the sectional final the previous two seasons. 

“The last couple of years we’ve kind of fallen short of where we expected ourselves to be. This year, we finally were where we expected,” senior defender Caroline McKenna said. “I think we expected more of ourselves (this season) but just to get here is a great ride. We put in everything we had to get to this point.”

Lyons' Caroline McKenna (10) sits in disbelief as New Trier celebrates winning the Class 3A Dominican super-sectional between New Trier and Lyons Township in River Forest on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

New Trier (23-2-4), going to the state semis at North Central College for the first time since 2019, set a state record with its 17th consecutive shutout. For the season, the Trevians have 26 shutouts and have allowed just four goals.

New Trier led LT 12-11 in shots (8-4 on goal) and 4-2 in corner kicks. But after withstanding early pressure, the Lions began taking control the rest of the half while the rain went from steady to hard in the 23rd minute.

“They came out really fast. We were kind of on our heels,” LT coach Bill Lanspeary said. “The last 25 minutes of that first half, I thought we played really well, generated some real good things. Our defense was doing a nice job. It’s what we’ve come to expect.”

Junior Caroline Mortonson had perhaps the Lions’ best chance in the 22nd minute. The Miami (Ohio) recruit controlled the ball near midfield, dribbled down right wing, cut back to the middle and ripped a 25-yard dart that went just wide right.

Lyons' Zibby Michaelson (15) chases down the ball during the Class 3A Dominican super-sectional between New Trier and Lyons Township in River Forest on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Pochocki also had four great chances, two stopped by New Trier freshman goalie Annie Fowler in the first half. During the sunny second half, Pochocki stole the ball in the opening minute and put a shot over the goal. Her wide-left shot off Mortonson’s cross with just more than nine minutes left was the Lions’ last scoring threat.

“You get to this stage and everybody’s really good defensively, the keepers are good and the opportunities are limited,” Lanspeary said. “When you create chances like that you give yourself a chance (to win).”

The Lions’ staunch defense and goalie Nora Ezike, who made seven saves in goal, also limited the Trevians. With outstretched arms, the 6-foot-2 Ezike grabbed the ball and prevented a potentially dangerous corner kick from entering the crease during the 34th minute.

Fairfield recruit Dellin converted her direct kick from the left of the box into the lower right corner of the net. It was the only goal allowed in the playoffs by the Lions, who had 16 shutouts and allowed only 11 goals this season.

“As a team we’ve done a really great job of limiting good looks at our goal,” McKenna said. “(New Trier) really had only one or two decent looks. There’s really nothing you can do for a good free kick. She just put that in a right spot.”

Pochocki and senior Izzi Wirtz are the lone remaining players from the 2021 state runners-up. Over their four varsity seasons, the Lions lost only nine games.

“Freshman year, it was a crazy experience and gave us something to keep our standards up to,” Pochocki said. “Even though we fell short the past two years, I think we really wanted to step up. I’m still really happy where we came.”