GIRLS SOCCER — The ending came too soon for the Loyola girls.
The Ramblers had hoped to continuing writing their final chapter of their storybook season, but Conant’s 1-0 victory ended Loyola’s record run one step short of the state tournament.
Sammie Van de Linde scored in the 17th minute at Elk Grove, and the Cougars made the goal stand up against the Ramblers, who captured their first sectional championship May 27 with a 2-0 win over New Trier.
“To punch one in early was huge,” said Conant all-stater Courtney Raetzman. “I’m sure they were shocked. That set the tone for us.”
The goal was only the fourth the Ramblers allowed all season as they finished 24-1-3. Conant, advancing to the state tournament for the second time in three seasons, lost in the semifinals Friday to state runner-up Naperville North. Granite City captured its first state title Saturday at North Central College.
“All year we talked about the possible game against New Trier,” Loyola all-state goalie Carly Stevens said. “We got there, and it was an amazing feeling to beat them. We worked so hard to get to that point, and our emotions were so high.
“We didn’t end up where we wanted to, but I am so proud of this team. We accomplished a lot.”
Loyola had some chances in the second half against Conant, but the Ramblers couldn’t convert on the opportunities.
Meeghan Smith found herself behind the defense twice, but the junior never got off a good shot. Loyola had a free kick midway through the second half in Conant’s half that never connected.
“We didn’t finish,” said Loyola coach Craig Snower, whose club won 65 games over the last three seasons. “But they handed it to us in the first 15 minutes, and we put ourself in a hole. We couldn’t get over the hump.”