The Evanston boys soccer team is gearing up for their first round match-up in the Class 3A Regional playoffs against Steinmetz high school on Oct. 20 at Niles West. The Wildkits are seeded fourth and their record stands at 9-7-3 as of Oct. 12
Head coach Franz Calixte feels his team has had a successful season. “We had a lot to overcome from last year and for the most part the boys are taking a giant step forward,” he said. Indeed, the Kits won only two games last season.
The Kits got to this point with a win over Mather on Sept. 24. They also had a four game winning streak early in the season, which included wins over Highland Park, 4-3, on Sept. 8; Foreman, 2-1, on Sept. 5; Von Steuben, 3-1, on Sept 3; and Payton, 4-1, on Sept. 1. They also beat McHenry, 2-1, on Sept 12.
In the last few weeks, the Kits were defeated by St. Viator, 4-2, on Sept. 26. In a game against Maine South on Sept. 29, the Kits led, 2-0, but were unable to hang onto their lead, and the contest ended tied, 2-2.
In the Midwest Classic tournament in Peoria on Oct. 2-3, the Kits lost to Peoria Notre Dame, 6-1, to open the tournament, but bounced back and beat Girbault, 3-2, and Quincy Notre Dame, 1-0. After that tournament, the team lost to Waukegan, 5-2, on Oct. 6 and to Lake Forest, 5-1, on Oct. 10.
Regarding the Midwest Classic, Coach Calixte said, “It went well. We use this tournament as a springboard for the upcoming playoffs. We had the opportunity to play last year’s class 2A champ, Peoria Notre Dame, and they showed why they were the champs. We learned from playing them.” Against Quincy Notre Dame, Calixte said, “[That was a game] where we had an opportunity to showcase our speed.”
With regional playoffs quickly approaching, the Coach said he feels the Kits must be mentally prepared in order to advance to the next round. ” We must believe in ourselves and our abilities. Playoffs are all about which team can handle the stress better – we must be mentally prepared to do well.” If the Kits beat Steinmetz in the playoffs, they will play the winner of Niles West and Von Steuben on Oct. 23 at Niles West.
“We are counting on the same guys that have been carrying the load throughout this season – Jordan Metter, Joey Pedtke, Noah Korman and Bill Zunamon,” said Coach Calixte.
“If we can click at the right time, we can be a Cinderella team [that goes] deep into the playoffs,” added the Coach regarding his team’s chances. When asked what his expectations are for Regionals, Calixte simply said, “To win it.”