One year later, the Collinsville Kahoks look forward to another chance against New Trier.
Collinsville (19-6-1) will face the Trevians (23-2-1) in the semifinals of the Class 3A state soccer tournament at 5 p.m. Friday at North Central College in Naperville.
New Trier blanked the Kahoks 4-0 in the state championship game last year and will be shooting for its fourth consecutive state title. The second-place finish for Collinsville was the highest in the history of its girls soccer program.
“They’re good, but at the same time, I think we’re just as good,” said Collinsville coach Clay Smith, whose team is in the tournament for the third straight year. “I think we’ve progressively gotten better all year. We’ve prepared for this all season. I definitely like our chances. I’ve liked our chances the last two years. It should be a fun game.”
New Trier, which raced to a 3-0 lead halftime lead over Collinsville last season, graduated 10 seniors from last year, including Kelly Maday.
But the Trevians haven’t missed a beat and boast a dangerous offense that features junior defender Sydney Parker (19 goals, six assists), junior Nicole Kaspi (16 goals, eight assists) and freshman Emma Weaver (12 goals, six assists).
“We would much rather to play them the first game than the second game when we have rested legs,” Smith said. “We’re happy with our draw. They’re well-rounded and talented. The difference between this year’s New Trier team and last year is I don’t think they have that prolific goal-scorer as they did last year. It’s a combination of 11 girls on the field. Their back line is very strong, and it was strong last year as well.”
We would much rather to play them the first game than the second game when we have rested legs.
Clay Smith, Collinsville soccer coach
Parker is a rare case in that her primary position is as a defender, but she regularly pushes forward into the offensive schemes and is the Trevians’ main weapon on restarts and corner kicks.
“She likes to get out of the back and create goal-scoring opportunities,” Smith said. “It’s their target player they find on restarts and dead balls. We need to be smart about where we foul and how we foul, because they’re very good on set pieces. She’s definitely somebody we’ll have marked.”
Smith said the Kahoks mirror the Trevians in many ways. Offensively, they have multiple threats behind seniors Alynnah O’Leary (21 goals, eight assists) and Emily Holten (20 goals, 11 assists), and junior Courtney Marten (15 goals, five assists). Holten and senior midfielder Andrea Frerker are first-team all-state players.
Seniors Dayle McEwen and Danielle Knutson, junior Emma Knoebel and freshman Faith Liljegren form a solid defense, with senior Morgan Lerch in goal.
Marten and Holten scored in the Kahoks’ 2-0 win over Lincoln-Way West in the Normal super-sectional Tuesday. Senior Tayler Devine (six goals, seven assists) assisted on Marten’s goal that made it 1-0, and junior Riley Harris assisted on Holten’s score.
They have the experience, and once they get in the postseason, they have the mindset that they can’t and won’t lose.
New Trier advanced with a 1-0 victory in the Bartlett super-sectional, handing St. Charles North its first loss of the season.
“They have a lot of similarities to us,” Smith said. “They have the experience, and once they get in the postseason, they have the mindset that they can’t and won’t lose. That’s what it takes to be successful at this time of year. We have that, too.”
Smith said it will be important for both teams to be able to control the ball and be able to string together passes. But neither team likely will dominate the other.
“We have to hang on to the soccer ball. We’re going to have to possess and make them defend,” Smith said. “It’s just going to be a matter, at the start of the game, being able to relax, getting a good touch on the ball and going forward from there.”