NORTHFIELD — An hour before the kick-off, New Trier’s Tim Moriarty sat stoically in the third row of the home-side bleachers, staring at the empty soccer field in front of him. His spikes were laced, but he was still wearing his sweats and sunglasses.
Moriarty was focused, and so were his teammates Saturday afternoon at New Trier Stadium.
The Trevians sailed to a 3-1 win over Glenbrook North, claiming a Class 3A regional title and advancing to the Niles North Sectional semifinal match against Maine South on Tuesday.
New Trier and Glenbrook North met earlier this season, and the game ended in a 2-2 tie. It was, as Moriarty noted before the second meeting Saturday, “an unsettled match.”
But it wasn’t for long.
New Trier controlled possession throughout the game, but especially in the first 15 minutes of each half. The Trevians’ first goal came with 27:50 to play in the first half when senior Duncan Gill dropped a short pass to senior forward Tommy Belliel, and he finished it.
Ten minutes later, sophomore midfielder Michael McCue, who had just subbed into the game for the Trevians, fired a shot that ricocheted off the goal post and into the net. Glenbrook North (8-9-5) respond with a goal of its own before halftime, but eight minutes into the second half, New Trier scored when a Spencer Farina throw-in hit off a Spartans player and wound up in the back of the net. That allowed the Trevians to steal back momentum from the Spartans.
“Both teams were extraordinarily energetic and emotional,” New Trier coach Wes Molyneaux said. “But we have a senior-heavy team to play through all that and play some really nice soccer.”
The playoffs and the rematch with Glenbrook North meant a focused week of practice for New Trier (19-3-2).
“Wednesday and Thursday we were extraordinarily sharp,” Molyneaux said. “The guys focused on what they were doing and how we wanted to beat GBN. Sixteen seniors responded to that goal. There’s a tangibleness there that I think they were on board with.”
At no time was New Trier’s focus more pronounced than the final 15 minutes of play Saturday. Down two goals, Glenbrook North applied defensive pressure. But instead of stalling or tensing up, New Trier kept attacking.
A huge part of that continuous attack was junior forward Michael Gallo, who used his speed and grit to beat Spartans defenders on the outside all afternoon.
“He had his best game of the year,” Molyneaux said.
Senior Spartans midfielder Ethan Glass scored Glenbrook North’s lone goal with 4:32 left in the first half, skillfully looping the ball just over the goalkeeper’s hand.
“We were flat today, but credit Trevian speed and physicality,” Glenbrook North coach Paul Vignocchi said.