NAPERVILLE – There will be a lot for Sarah Warren, Mary Claire Ladd and the rest of Hinsdale South's girls soccer team to remember about this season in years to come.
A 3-1 loss against defending state champ Chatham Glenwood in the Class 2A third-place game on Saturday wasn't the ending the Hornets had in mind, but the final chapter won't define the rest of the story.
"It's pretty special," Ladd said of the Hornets' playoff run. "We've never made it to the 2A finals, so to be the first team to do it was great. Making this run and playing together as a team is great. We said from the beginning this should be our year. Our goal was to make it here and we made it here.
"It's a great feeling [winning a state trophy], and I think all the girls now, we'll stay in touch forever. This team is so close and being able to do it with these girls is just fantastic."
The trip to state came with a couple of highlights for South (19-8-1).
With the fourth-place finish, the Hornets earned their first state trophy. In previous state trips in 1988, 1989 and 1990, they came home empty handed.
When Warren scored late in the game against Glenwood, it marked the first time South had scored a goal at state.
The Hornets also came close to winning their first game at state. A well-placed shot by Normal West's Abby Thompson was the only blemish in an otherwise sparkling defensive game for South as it lost 1-0 in a state semifinal game on June 6. They outshot the Wildcats 8-5.
"Defensively, I thought we did a great job," Warren said of the game against Normal. "Every team is the same in our eyes. We go out there and we think we're playing the world's best team. We knew they had really good girls and a flip-thrower, but the key is we played hard on every girl."
That solid defensive effort against Normal extended to sophomore keeper Jean Cote. She confidently came off her line to stifle several dangerous scoring chances, and she stopped a penalty kick in the game's fifth minute.
"I think Jean was a great for us," Ladd said. "She's unstoppable and I'm so glad we have her back there. … It was a great game defensively for us."
The Hornets went a long time between their last state finals appearance and this one, but the gap between this one and next one could be significantly smaller. In addition to Cote, sophomore Madison Cebular, who started at state, returns to the defense. Juniors Haley Flemm and Kelly Flemm are both slated to return to the midfield, and sophomore Courtney Cavalli and freshman Cali Vanderplow will return at the top of the attack. Eight other players from the state team could also return.
"I believe next year that this team is going to be just as good as this year. I actually think they're going to get first in state," Warren said. "It's nice that we can segue [the younger girls] in. Next year I'm really excited to see what these girls can do."
Normal West 1, Hinsdale South 0
State third place
Chatham Glenwood 3, Hinsdale South 1
Senior roll call
• Elisabetta Bifero
• Cassie Jensen
• Shannon Kilrea
• Jessica Koziol
• Mary Claire Ladd
• Ali Lokanc
• Maggie Nicosia
• Sarah Warren