Reaching a higher level of performance has been the goal for Warren's girls soccer team all spring.
And they're certainly getting there, as shown by an appearance Saturday night in the championship game of the Glenbrook Cup.
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The Blue Devils produced a strong effort but ended up falling 2-1 to host Glenbrook South at the Techny Fields in Northbrook.
In the preceding third-place game, Mundelein suffered a 1-0 loss against Normal West to finish fourth in the 16-team tournament.
For Warren, making the title game was a clear sign of progress.
"I don't believe that we've ever been in the final," said Warren coach Ryan McCabe, whose team finished third last year. "Hopefully, it's a stepping stone and we can bring home the first-place trophy next year."
The Blue Devils (11-5-2) won three of its four games in a 24-hour span.
Glenbrook South (14-3-1) won the title for the fourth time in five years, but certainly had a battle with Warren.
"It was an up and back game," McCabe said. "Both teams have a lot of quality. (Glenbrook South) took advantage of a couple of defensive mistakes that we made. That's what good teams do, they punish you. I thought my girls played great over the weekend. It was a great tournament."
Warren jumped out to a 1-0 lead 30 seconds into the game as Kaitlyn Chomko scored off an assist from Alliyah Parker.
But the Titans knocked in 2 goals in a two-minute span. Olivia Peters tied the game at 1-1 in the 15th minute from Kaily Bruch's pass. Two minutes later, Lily Sands scored the eventual game-winning goal from Peters.
"It was very difficult to stay defensive," Warren defender Alexis Strothers said. "You have to keep yourself between them and the goalkeeper. Keeping up with their speed was tough, but we were able to cut them off at times."
Glenbrook South admired the athleticism and effort shown by Warren.
"This was the toughest final that we've ever been in," Glenbrook South coach Seong Ha said. "It was a 70-minute track meet. Their defense was great and Liz Carrano (7 saves) was great in goal. For the girls to play that level with four games in 24 hours shows the heart of both teams. Warren has a great squad and they can go far (in the state tournament)."
Warren won its semifinal over Mundelein 3-1 earlier in the day as Hayden Yunker, Alliyah Parker and Darla Szczepanek all scored. Earlier in the season the teams played to a 0-0 tie.
The Blue Devils also broke the Mustangs' 13-game unbeaten streak, during which Mundelein had allowed just 5 goals.
"It's been a while to see something like this," Mundelein coach Ernie Billittier said. "Warren is a very good team and they're well-coached. We made a couple mistakes in the back and gave up a couple of clear opportunities.
"Mundelein has never been in the semifinals of this tournament, either. There's a lot of positives to take away and move forward."
The Mustangs got their goal from Christy Nambo against Warren. Before
Mundelein slipped to 10-3-5 after falling short against Normal West (19-1).
In the Saturday morning quarterfinals, Mundelein defeated Niles North 1-0 and Warren beat Glenbrook North 2-0.