Loyola, New Trier to square off in sectional final for fifth straight year

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The Loyola and New Trier girls soccer teams have met in a sectional final in each of the last four years, and they will continue that trend at 7 p.m. Friday evening.

Both the Ramblers and Trevians cruised to easy wins in their sectional semifinal matches on Tuesday evening. Loyola conceded a goal early in its 5-2 win over Maine South, but scored the next five unanswered. New Trier blitzed Lane in the New Trier Sectional nightcap, scoring four times in the first half en route to a 5-0 victory.

“We did play them in the Naperville Tournament and we won 3-0, but that doesn’t have the [same] emotion to it,” Loyola senior defender Corey Burns said. “I’m totally looking forward to playing them. It doesn’t feel like a sectional final unless you’re playing New Trier.”

Maine South senior forward Alli Curry struck early against the Ramblers. She found space – one of the few times during the match – at the top of the box and rifled a left-footed shot into the top corner of the goal.

Maine South held a one-goal lead for 18 minutes and 2 seconds until junior midfielder Tori Iatarola converted a penalty kick with 27:59 remaining in the first half. Loyola freshman Devin Burns, Corey’s younger sister, then scored her 34th goal of the season off of a cross by sophomore forward Kathryn Cichon right before halftime.

The Ramblers added three goals – scored, in order, by freshman midfielder Natalie Joyce, freshman forward Lila Adler and junior midfielder Sierra Klucikowski – before Maine South junior forward Lexi Kiotis added the Hawks’ second goal.

“We fought and I’m so proud of my girls,” Maine South coach J.J. Crawford said. “Loyola, man-to-man, top down, they have more talent. But we didn’t back down, and we did the best we could and that’s all you can ask [of] high school girls.”

While Maine South challenged the Ramblers throughout the first half, New Trier removed all doubt from its sectional semifinal in the match’s first 40 minutes. New Trier sophomore Maggie Armstrong scored a pair of goals – the first on a header, the second on a perfectly-placed volley – to give the Trevians a 2-0 lead with 27:59 remaining in the first half.

New Trier junior midfielder Tricia Lybrook scored off of a corner kick with 7:13 remaining in the first half, and junior forward Maddie Mulford beat Lane goalkeeper Natalie Wade with 3:25 remaining in the first half. Mulford finished the match’s scoring in the second half, collecting her second goal.

Even with the lopsided victory over Lane, New Trier will enter Friday’s sectional, like last year, an underdog. But the Trevians will try to pull off an upset similar to last year’s 1-0 triumph over the Ramblers.

“I think it’s keeping our focus and keeping our intensity up,” said Armstrong, on the keys to beating Loyola. “I think we’ll be able to take them if we… keep our intensity up, and if we play together and quick and simple.”

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