By Ross Forman
New Trier has been a dominant force in Metro Girls all season, but they stumbled into the winter break 2-2-1 in their final 5 games.
Still, the Trevians are 10-2-1 with a league-leading 106 goals-for and only 21 goals-against.
Will the Trevians repeat as state champions, as the program celebrates its 20th year?
That’s a safe bet.
The Trevians are led by sophomore forward Ella Huber who, in 9 Metro Girls games, has 21 goals, 12 assists, including 2 game-winning goals.
New Trier has two other forwards who also already have double-digit goal totals: junior Kathryn McLaughlin (13) and sophomore Sabrina Shvartsman (11). And both also have 9 assists. McLaughlin has 3 game-winning goals.
Loyola head coach Robert Messner tagged New Trier as an, “offensive juggernaut.”
The Trevians his their first roadblock on Sunday, Dec. 9, when they hosted Naper Valley in Northbrook. New Trier dominated, outshooting the visitors 39-16, but, after falling behind 4-1 after two periods, the Trevians’ three-goal outburst in the third wasn’t enough as Naper Valley added two goals in the third, too.
Naper Valley is led by junior defenseman Lyndie Lobdell, who has 19 goals, 6 assists in 10 games.
Junior defenseman Margaret Culp (6 goals, 10 assists) also has shined for Naper Valley, as have sophomore forward Megan McCormick (9,2) and sophomore defenseman Margaret Korneta (7,4).
New Trier rebounded from its loss to Naper Valley with a convincing 8-1 win over Maine, a team that skated into winter break with a 4-8 record and only one player (sophomore forward Jocelyn Hazzard) already tallying more than 10 points.
Despite the momentum of winning on the road, New Trier hit back to back roadblocks, Dec. 17 and Dec. 21.
The much-anticipated New Trier-Fenwick game in Willowbrook was, perhaps, a preview of the state championship game. Fenwick jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first period, but the Trevians answered to lead 3-2 after two. Fenwick added one more in the third, and the teams had to settle for a 3-3 tie.
Erin Proctor had 2 assists against the Trevians, while Sarah Steadman, Lindsay Sepanski and Emily Franciszkowicz each scored for Fenwick.
Fenwick goalie Lena Flores faced 23 shots-on-goal against the Trevians and continues to show why she is one of the best netminders in the state. After all, she has a glowing save percentage (95) in 12 games.
“New Trier could find themselves in a struggle down the stretch defensively,” Messner said.
Loyola built a 4-0 lead on New Trier after 2 periods on Dec. 21 in Wilmette, and the Ramblers ultimately sealed a 5-3 victory.
“Overall, I am happy with Loyola’s start to the season,” Messner said. “(The team is) balanced offensively with every skater getting on the scoresheet and seven girls with double-digit point totals, including a freshman (defenseman Karly Kolssak) and two sophomores (Caroline Smith and Stephanie Smith). At even strength, we may be the deepest team on the defensive side of the puck. But, (we) need to stay out of the (penalty)box if we are going to be a team to beat down the stretch.”
New Trier rebounded from the Loyola setback with a dominant 11-1 win the next night in Wilmette over District 211-214, a team that enters 2019 with a 7-5-1 Metro Girls record.
“(It is a) nice surprise to see newcomer D 211/214 with a great first half, getting themselves into Scholastic Cup contention,” Messner said.
The top four teams in Metro Girls are only separated by 3 points, and Latin School of Chicago (6 points behind league-leading Fenwick) could cause problems in the league race in 2019. Same goes for the Rebels, Barrington and Lake Forest.
“(It was a) fairly competitive first half (of the season), especially at the top,” Messner said. “I was expecting Fenwick to be strong this season, but not sure anyone was expecting them to be undefeated through the first half. They play a steady, balanced game and are backstopped by senior Lena Flores and her 95% save percentage.
“Naper Valley looks like the team to beat, led by Penn State-commit, Lyndie Lobdell and her 2.5 points/game as well as the strong goaltending duo of Ashley Ommen and Samantha Steciak.”
January and February certainly will be a fun stretch for Metro Girls.
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.