LA GRANGE – Round one of the soccer rivalry between Lyons Township and Hinsdale Central went to the Lions, but if the Red Devils have it their way a round two is still ahead.
The Lions edged Central 1-0 on May 8 in a game that basically determined the West Suburban Silver champion. A goal from senior forward Katie Dougherty with just under 10 minutes to go decided the match.
Alison Cerny and Lily Chetosky created scoring chances for the Red Devils, but none that were able to beat goalkeeper Lidia Breen.
"We did a very good job of establishing our play, but at the same time still battling and competing because when we play our rivals that's what it's about," Central coach Michael Smith said. "In a 1-0 loss if that ball bounces one way or the other it's completely different."
Both teams entered the match with matching 4-0 records in the Silver. LT finished off the outright title by defeating Proviso West on Tuesday.
A week before the two met in La Grange, the Lions were given the top seed in the upcoming Downers Grove South sectional. Central was handed the No. 2 seed, a reverse of last season.
Unlike last year, when the Red Devils beat LT in the regular season and in a sectional final, Central will enter a potential postseason rematch as the underdog. While both teams have a lot of work to do to get to that match, Smith believes the Red Devils can learn plenty and still take confidence away from the defeat.
"The good thing is that we were in the game and at the same time they had to deal with us. It wasn't like it was a one-sided game," Smith said. "I thought we dealt very well with the atmosphere and the intensity. Hinsdale Central and LT is always going to be close."
Central finished off the regular season with a flurry of tough games. After LT, it traveled to highly-ranked Loyola on Saturday and lost 1-0 for the team's first consecutive losses of the season. The Red Devils returned home Tuesday to take on York and lost 4-3. They closed the regular season Thursday against East Suburban Catholic Conference champion Benet, the No. 3 seed in the DGS sectional.
There won't be any drastic changes to the team, but Smith is hoping his team can properly execute to make a push for another state trophy after placing second last year.
"We'll certainly be battle tested going into the playoffs," Smith said. "There is no change of system or change of major tactics at this point in time. It's the little things that get us in the position to be better."