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New Trier celebrates with its 2014 IHSA Class 3A Championship trophy. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
New Trier’s Sarah Connors had the advantage, and playing for a state title, she left little to the imagination.
“I saw the goalkeeper was out, and it gave me the chance to chip her,” Connors said.
On Saturday night, the senior defender lofted a ball from 42 yards out in the seventh minute for a dramatic goal as No. 2 New Trier captured its fourth state title with the 1-0 win in Class 3A over No. 5 St. Charles East at North Central College in Naperville.
New Trier (31-1) ended the year by winning 11 consecutive games, all by shutout as the Trevians captured their first state title since 2006. Sophomore keeper Dani Kaufman registered seven saves in punctuating the run.
New Trier outscored its seven state tournament opponents 22-0. It was only Connors’ second goal.
“I usually serve them back in,” she said of her long free kicks. “The ball got pushed out, and it gave me the chance to hit it over her head.”
St. Charles East senior goalkeeper Kendra Sheehan was sensational, recording 10 saves in enabling the Saints (19-5-5) to hover around the heavily favored Trevians.
“I wish I could have been half a second faster,” Sheehan said. “It was a fantastic shot, and it caught me at the perfect moment, a beautiful upper-90s [angle] shot.
“I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of my team. The result, 1-0 was disappointing, but the scoreboard didn’t necessarily reflect the game.”
After New Trier’s high-pressure start, the Saints found their groove and countered. Junior forward Darcy Cunningham created the team’s best scoring chance after a sharply executed give-and-go with midfielder Anna Cororosi found her 12 yards out and staring Kaufman down one-on-one in the 22nd minute.
Her rocket shot was directed right at Kaufman and she snared it to maintain the Trevians’ advantage.
“I should have shot it into the corner,” Cunningham said. “I got a touch through and I should have slotted the ball into the corner, but I felt the defender on me and I didn’t want to hesitate.”
After beating top-ranked Waubonsie Valley to avenge its only loss of the season, New Trier entered the game a prohibitive favorite.