High School Sports

Kahoks’ championship dream ends in disappointment

Collinsville girls soccer team finishes second in state tournament

Collinsville girls soccer players lift their second-place trophy Saturday night after they lost 4-0 to New Trier in the Class 3A championship game at North Central College in Naperville.
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Collinsville girls soccer players lift their second-place trophy Saturday night after they lost 4-0 to New Trier in the Class 3A championship game at North Central College in Naperville.

Collinsville ran into an impenetrable roadblock Saturday night.

Shooting for their first state championship in girls soccer, the Kahoks instead were dismantled 4-0 by New Trier in the Class 3A title game at North Central College.

The Trevians (26-3-1) took command with three first-half goals and raced to their third consecutive state championship. They haven’t allowed a postseason goal since 2013.

Collinsville (22-2-2), meanwhile, settled for second place and had its 16-game winning snapped. The Kahoks’ second-place finish was their best in school history. They finished fourth in 1988 and 2015.

“They’re pretty good in every position,” Collinsville coach Clay Smith said of the Trevians, who outshot the Kahoks 11-4. “We haven’t been in that situation much this year. They’re skilled in every single position on that field. There’s not a weak link in that 11. Congrats to them. That’s why they’ve won three in a row.”

They’re pretty good in every position. We haven’t been in that situation much this year. They’re skilled in every single position on that field. There’s not a weak link in that 11. Congrats to them. That’s why they’ve won three (state titles) in a row.

Collinsville coach Clay Smith after his team’s 4-0 loss to New Trier on Saturday

New Trier did to the Kahoks what the Kahoks did to their opponents this season.

“It was a little bit of an ‘in-your-face’ attitude,” Smith said. “I was happy with the way we came back the second half. We talked a lot at halftime about playing with a lot of grit and heart ... because we were just getting outworked all over the ball (in the first half). There’s nothing for us to hang our heads about.”

Collinsville senior Hanna Liljegren was disappointed the Kahoks didn’t play more effectively.

“We think if we played them on any other night, maybe they wouldn’t be better than us,” Liljegren said. “Tonight, they were better than us. We’re just happy we played hard in the second half and didn’t give up. It wouldn’t fall for us tonight. That’s soccer.”

We think if we played them on any other night, maybe they wouldn’t be better than us. Tonight, they were better than us. We’re just happy we played hard in the second half and didn’t give up. It wouldn’t fall for us tonight. That’s soccer.

Collinsville senior Hanna Liljegren

Senior defender Chayse Richardson was disappointed with the defeat but proud of the Kahoks’ determination in the face of a big deficit.

“We played our hearts out and I couldn’t be any more proud of this team. I love them,” Richardson said. “It’s never easy to lose. We were ready, but we just couldn’t finish.”

Fast and furious

The Trevians, with six Division I players in their starting lineup, went to work early and continued to apply pressure throughout the game.

Junior Natalie Laser, a USC recruit, put New Trier on the board at 9 minutes, 13 seconds, settling a flick from senior Kelly Maday, gaining the edge on a defender and scoring past senior keeper Julie Scheiter to make it 1-0.

Collinsville was anything but dispirited, however, as Liljegren’s header was punched out by senior goalie Dani Kaufman less than two minutes later and senior Emily Holten’s blistering free kick from 30 yards away was knocked out by Kaufman.

Richardson consistently threatened the Trevians with her flip throws, but Collinsville was unable to finish from inside the box.

New Trier increased its lead to 2-0 on a perfectly placed goal by sophomore Caroline Iserloth, whose 24-yard shot from the right side sailed over Scheiter and inside the far post at 29:48.

“It was a good, lofting shot. You can’t pin that on Julie,” Smith said. “She was beating herself up about it. She saves a lot of those all year long. It just so happens tonight she wasn’t able to get to it and it went in.”

It’s emotional either way because it’s the state-championship game and it’s my last game as a senior with the Kahoks. We came into this game wanting to win it all, not only for the seniors, but for the whole team. We gave it our all.

Collinsville senior goalkeeper Julie Scheiter

Scheiter fought back tears after the game.

“It’s emotional either way because it’s the state championship game and it’s my last game as a senior with the Kahoks,” she said. “We came into this game wanting to win it all, not only for the seniors, but for the whole team. We gave it our all.

“This is their third year as state champions. We knew coming into the game that they were going to be tough.”

Richardson’s throw-in from the left side bounced harmlessly into space and rolled to the feet of junior Tayler Devine, whose shot was wide right in the 35th minute.

The Trevians added insurance in the final minute of the half when senior Bina Saipi maneuvered around a defender on the left side and rifled a shot inside the right post at 39:07. Maday, an Illinois recruit, was credited with the assist.

Maday extended New Trier’s lead to 4-0 on a partial breakaway at 47:39. The goal came against junior Morgan Lerch, who replaced Scheiter at halftime.

Trevians coach Jim Burnside was overjoyed for his players.

“Three state championships. There’s not a lot of people who can walk away and say that,” Burnside said. “And three in a row. That’s hard to do.

“What we did in coming at them and playing like we played ... Bina’s goal was just such a huge goal in terms of time and place. Collinsville did a great job. They didn’t make it easy for us in any way, shape or form. They’re a great team, they’re athletic, they’re hard-working and orgranized. Our kids came out and it was our night tonight.”

Celebrating the Kahoks

Collinsville players will be welcomed back to Kahok Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday for a ceremony to recognize their accomplishment.

The ceremony is expected to last for a few minutes and the public is invited to attend.

“These girls had a fantastic season, Smith said. “They lost two games and finished second in the state. It’s tough to go out this way, but they’ll wake up and be OK. They’ll have smiles on their faces.”

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm

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