Field Hockey: Lake Forest, Loyola advance to field hockey state final

Story Image New Trier's Maddy Burds (left) and Loyola's Katherine Eilers battle for a ball during the first half of their IHSFHA semifinal game at Lake Forest High School Friday. October 26, 2012. Loyola won the game 1-0. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
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Updated: October 26, 2012 11:42PM

The clock expired, and the Lake Forest field hockey team rushed onto the turf.

But coach Melanie Walsh told her team to hold off on the early celebration. The Scouts — who defeated Oak-Park River Forest 3-1 in the Illinois High School Field Hockey Association state tournament semifinals Friday — still have to prepare to play Saturday’s championship match against Loyola.

“They were ready for pictures, and I said, ‘Let’s save that for tomorrow,’ ” Walsh said. “We had some pretty good timeouts that got them in the right mindset. I said, ‘You guys can’t play to not lose. You have to play to win.’ So they started playing more aggressively. Once they got that into them, there was no stopping. They were like a big bulldozer.”

Senior Katie Sullivan gave the Scouts the early lead in the 21st minute; however, four minutes later OPRF junior Emma Baldwin scored off a corner play to tie the game at 1-1.

About halfway into the second half, the Scouts took back the lead for good with a goal from senior Morgan Dever. The Scouts sealed the win in the final minutes on junior Mackenzie Adams’ goal.

“It was a full group effort,” Walsh said. “Our defense, when we were challenged, played very well.”

Cheers roared from Lake Forest’s home field, but in a silent huddle, Huskies’ coach Lauren Blanco had a message for her team: “It’s OK to be upset. It’s OK to cry.”

“It wasn’t a game that we needed to sneak in a garbage or scrappy goal,” Blanco said. “It was very back-and-forth. It was well within our reach. It’s disappointing. I wish we could have done it for our seniors. We had a great group of girls. They’re the type of kids you want to win a state title for.”

The Huskies will play for third-place on Saturday, a position their senior class has played for the last three years. OPRF will play New Trier which lost to Loyola 1-0 in Friday’s other semifinal. Although OPRF is still hopeful of taking its highest finish since 2003, when it won the state title, Blanco said, “It’s always hard to get geared up for a third-place game.”

“You get yourself all psyched up for that first-place game,” she continued. “I think that it helps that it’s against New Trier because it’s a team we lost against twice this year, so it gives us a chance to make a statement.”

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