The Evanston Township High School girls lacrosse team did not expect to have the type of season they had. They finished their regular season with an overall 5-14 record, and a Central Suburban Conference record of 2-3.
“This season was tough. What we were expecting and what happened were completely opposite and it took us a while to get ourselves back on track,” said senior midfielder Shannon Kelly. “We had lots of injuries that caused the depth we had in our team to recede. Though it was tough, we all stuck it out and never gave up. We really stepped up as a team and I’m proud of us.”
In the Illinois High School Women’s Lacrosse Association playoffs, the Wildkits faced off against Northside College Prep on May 20. In that game, the Kits beat Northside 14-4 to earn a sectional berth against defending state champion Loyola.
“During the Northside game I thought we played great. We had great transitions up and down the field and we were passing and catching so well,” said sophomore midfielder Martha Murray. “I also think that we had a few crazy checks in the beginning of the game, but we cleaned them up in the second half. We were playing much cleaner and like a team. I very much think we deserved that win because we played so well.”
On May 24 on a hot afternoon at Lazier Field in Evanston, the Kits took on Loyola. The Ramblers took an early 4-0 lead in the first four minutes. Then the Kits answered with a goal by senior midfielder Julia Borlack six minutes into the first half. But that is as close as the Kits would get in this one, with Loyola shutting out the Kits the rest of the way and winning the contest, 20-1, ending the Kits’ season. Loyola went on to win the state championship for the second year in a row.
“Going into playoffs we didn’t know what to expect, we knew we’d most likely be facing Loyola and we had to get over the fact that they were “Loyola” and just bring our game. And we did bring our game — the score didn’t quite reflect that, but we had personal goals that we were able to meet, [so] that was a victory in itself. Loyola is a fast and strong team. Their varsity team is extremely competitive, which makes each player step up their game even more,” said Kelly.
The Kits are currently part of the Illinois High School Women’s Lacrosse Association, but starting next spring, girls lacrosse will leave the IHSWLA and enter Illinois High School Association (IHSA) competition, joining the 35 current sports and activities involved in IHSA competition.
Regarding the switch, junior attacker/midfielder Sophie Graham said, “It is fantastic that women’s lacrosse will be joining the IHSA.” She added, “It is great to see the sport get that recognition and also to see how many schools are now playing it. As the sport continues to grow, it means more competition, which is never a bad thing.”
With the way the season ended, the Kits are already eager and excited about next season. Murray said, “Although we may be losing our seniors, who make a great impact on our team, we still have so much individual talent and talent as a team.” She added, “Next season a lot of us that will be on the team already know how each other plays, so we can work with each other and know how we work. It will be a great season and I can’t wait.”