Girls Soccer: IHSA Crowns Three Quality Champions

Girls Soccer: IHSA Crowns Three Quality Champions
Plainfield South vs Romeoville (Image File: Michael Ciric)

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) 2012-2013 Girls Soccer Season has concluded and in the process they crowned three quality champions. The Quincy Notre Dame Raiders withstood an exceptional and inspired Chicago Francis W. Parker Colonels squad, who were making their first ever State Finals Appearance, to win their second consecutive State Title in Class 1A.

The Chatham Glenwood Titans finally won their 1st State Title in Class 2A after getting ever so close last season as they defeated another team making their 1st appearance in the IHSA State Finals, the Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge Wolves.

But it was the Zoe Swift led Naperville North Huskies who perhaps saved the best for last as they too won a second consecutive State Title against the Hinsdale Central Red Devils in an ultra tough Class 3A.

One thing is clear to me, the quality of play continues to get better and better as the the number of top-notch programs continue to increase. And there is no doubt in my mind that this is driven by a desire by other programs to put themselves into position to win a State Championship as evidenced by those two squads who made their State Finals debut.

In all there were 400 Matches Played in the State Playoffs and there were 1,794 Goals Scored and 201 Goals Conceded. The Average Margin of Victory was 4.485 To 0.503. Naturally many of the early round scores were higher than many of us would like to see, but all in all, the overall competition continues to improve from conference to conference.

As such, I would like to congratulate all the participants in this year's IHSA State Playoffs. Thanks for making this season one of the best ever.

The Championship Summaries:

Class 1A: Quincy Notre Dame 2, Chicago Francis W. Parker 1
The Quincy Notre Dame (21-1-2) Raiders defeated the Chicago Francis W. Parker Colonels 2-1 to win their second consecutive (and third in four years) IHSA Class 1A Girls Soccer Title. The Raiders were led by Hannah Cobb and 6'-2" Jordan Frericks, whose goals stood up even though the Colonels controlled the Title Match played at Naperville's North Central College. The Francis W. Parker (19-2-0) super-duo of Evan Fencik and Olivia Amdur, whose combined 50 goals and 44 assists this season, were held scoreless by the Raider defense. Even though the two stars were unable to find the back of the net they did create numerous chances for teammates as the Colonels finished with 10 shots on goal. Their lone goal was scored by Mimi Vaintrub midway through the 2nd half after Olivia Amdur found her in open space.

Chicago Francis W. Parker was making their first ever State Final appearance in any sport and the amazing thing about their season was that they were able to sandwich their 19 wins in between a season-opening and closing loss. A remarkable run for sure and one that will continue to energize this team in the future. Congratulations go out to the Colonels as runner-up status is no small feat in IHSA Soccer.

The Raiders of Quincy Notre Dame, meanwhile, were able to use their playoff-hardened experience to fend off the Parker Colonials and that speaks immensely to the talent found on this squad. It isn't easy to win when the other team is controlling the ball, but this is not only a close-knit unit but a winning program that is able to get the best out of their players year in and year out.

IHSA Class 1A 3rd Place Game: Alton Marquette 2, Johnsburg 1

Class 2A: Chatham Glenwood 4, Cyrstal Lake Prairie Ridge 1
The Chatham Glenwood Titans (21-1-1) Girls Soccer Team were able to win their first ever IHSA State Title but it hasn't been for the lack of trying as they were last season's runner-up to Wheaton St. Francis. But close was not going to be good enough this year. After coming from behind to defeat Oak Park Fenwick in their State Semi-Final Match-up the Titans exploded for a quick 3-0 lead barely halfway through the 1st Half versus the Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge Wolves. Senior Abby Klintworth put the Titans up 2-0 after the first 12 minutes and Maggie Juhlin made it 3-0 in the 25th minute on a rebound for her team-leading 21st Goal of the season.

Prairie Ridge (19-3-1) would get a goal back just before halftime after Shannon Patinella was left unmarked. She put a zinger past Titan goalkeeper Mara Cunningham to make it 3-1. The Wolves would come out aggresively in the 2nd Half and had several scoring opportunities early on but were unable to convert again. Chatham Glenwood's Kelly Graves, a sophomore, would put the final nail in the coffin as her goal made it 4-1 to secure the Titans' year-long quest of winning a State Title.

The Wolves, who were making their first ever State Finals appearance saw a 17 game winning streak end, but it wasn't for naught as this will be a team to be reckoned with in the future. Winning State Championships usually always begin with a letdown or two, but once a program understands exactly what it takes to get there - it becomes harder for other teams to defeat them. I have a strange feeling that the Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge program will be making more appearances in the deeper rounds of the playoffs in the future and so long as they stay the
course will achieve their goal of winning a State Title.

IHSA Class 2A 3rd Place Game: Oak Park Fenwick 1, Lemont 0

Class 3A: Naperville North 2, Hinsdale Central 1
The score was close but it was my belief that the Naperville North Huskies (22-0-2) were the best team in the state. And they proved it as they defeated a top-notch and inspired Hinsdale Central Red Devils squad (17-4-3) 2-1 for back-to-back IHSA Class 3A State Titles. The Huskies and Red Devils drew 1-1 earlier in the season and both teams knew that they had a chance, but Senior Zoe Swift would elevate her play this day and would be the difference. Her two goals in the first 16 minutes of the match kept the Red Devils playing from behind the rest of the way.

But give Hinsdale Central a lot of credit as they came out in the 2nd Half and put pressure on the Huskie defense and peppered them with three consecutive shots on goal. Junior Megan Schick pulled the Red Devils within a goal in the 49th minute but that would be as close as they would get. The Huskies tightened-up and were able to play ball control the rest of the way.

Zoe Swift, though, wasn't done as she nearly broke through again and forced Red Devil Goalkeeper, Riley Glenn into making two phenomenal saves to keep them in the game. All in all, the best team won but one thing I am certain of - IHSA Class 3A Girls Soccer is stacked with quality programs. The fact that Naperville North was able to repeat speaks volumes for their program and it will be interesting to see how the loss of Zoe Swift to the college ranks will affect the team. But if the emergence of Sophomore Forward Abbie Boswell is any indication, the Huskies could very well be playing for a third consecutive title. It will, however, be a tall order as other teams like Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Plainfield North and others are becoming perennial powers.

IHSA Class 3A 3rd Place Game: Barrington 2, Buffalo Grove 0

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