HINSDALE – So close.
The Hinsdale Central girls lacrosse team scored a game-tying goal off the stick of junior attacker Reese Napier with 3:43 to go in the state championship game against New Trier on June 4.
That tally pushed the game to overtime.
Entering the extra period, it looked like the Red Devils just might return to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018, and at home, no less.
But New Trier had just a little more, prevailing 12-11 thanks to the title-winning goal with 1:22 left in OT by senior attacker Grace Curry.
The Red Devils, who had leads of 6-2 and 9-4, finished 20-5 on the season.
“The girls fought hard and I’m proud of them,” Hinsdale Central coach Matt McNiff said. “To make it to that game with how the sport has grown. ... Lake Forest is a heck of team. York is a heck of a team. Teams are getting better. Other schools are reaching out to ask how to get better. They want to increase their numbers.
“The fact we got to that game, after all we had been through, it was remarkable.”
Senior midfielder Annette Ciupek led Hinsdale Central with four goals, while junior attacker Emily Brankin added three. Napier, who had two assists, scored one goal, as did junior midfielder Ariana Tavoso, sophomore attacker Parker Matthews and senior defender Ella Beargie.
But injuries played a role in the championship game. The Red Devils were without junior midfielder Angie Conley, a Notre Dame recruit, and senior midfielder Lanie Randle.
“It was tough for all of us, a tough fight and we couldn’t pull it off at the end,” McNiff said, “but I think they realized that we had a great season.”
In the third-place game, Lake Forest defeated Lincoln-Way Central 18-17.