While it comes as no surprise, nothing is ever guaranteed in girls soccer.
But the fact that Lyons locked up its fourth consecutive Class AA state berth on Monday with a 2-1 victory over Stagg in the Loyola Super-sectional won’t shock most people.
The heavily-favored Lions (20-6) got two goals from junior Jill Kevorkian
(13 goals), and will now face Peoria Notre Dame on Friday night at North Central College in Naperville.
After advancing to the Class A state finals in recent years, Peoria Notre Dame wrapped up its first Class AA berth with a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Normal West in the Morton Super-sectional.
“We’re going to have to keep the ball away from one or two of Peoria’s better players,” said Lyons coach Alex Hernandez, who drove down to Peoria Monday night with assistant coach Andy Newcomb to scout the game. “They showed they can be a dangerous team by coming back twice.
“But if we continue to possess the ball as we have throughout the postseason that will be the main way to slow their better players.”
After knocking off Fenwick 2-0 in the sectional semifinals, Hernandez’s crew wrapped up another sectional crown with a 4-1 victory over Oak Park.
Michigan State-bound Katie Rehor recorded a hat trick, while Kevorkian added the other goal to help the Lions advance.
Rehor, who suffered a broken nose against York on May 2, was actually forced to sit out the game against Fenwick because the IHSA does not allow face masks.
“We are just following the National Federation’s [NFHS] rule,” said IHSA executive director Marty Hickman, who denied a petition from Lyons to allow the face mask. “It is my understanding they are going to be allowed in the fall, but I don’t have any information on that yet. If we were to change the rule now, it would be like changing the offside rule during the middle of the season.”
According to an official press release sent out by the NFHS on Feb. 2, the rule was changed on Jan. 23 to allow players to wear protective face masks as long as a medical release has been obtained.
Rehor, who had been playing with the mask since May 9, had obtained that release.
“I was extremely [ticked] when they told me I couldn’t play,” Rehor said. “They told me it’s an illegal weapon, and there are people out there playing with metal knee braces.
“But I went back to my doctor [last Wednesday], and he gave me clearance to play. It just bothers me, because other officials knew I was playing and they had no problem with it.”
After finishing fourth in 2003, Lyons is hoping this year’s state-finals trip won’t end up like the last two trips?”one game and done. The Lions enter the state finals riding a nine-game winning streak.