Change seems to be the name of the game this year for the Evanston Township High School boys lacrosse team. The Wildkits are under the direction of a new head coach, who says he wants to shake things up a bit.
Coach Adam Hughes said, “My goal for this year’s team is to change the attitude and culture of the players. In order to do this we must get back to the basics and stay focused throughout the season. Fixing the two should translate into wins on the field, which is our ultimate goal.”
Junior Kevin Jamieson interpreted. “Coach Hughes is commenting on a negative attitude the team has carried the last few years and with that has come a lot of losses [the Kits posted a 3-14 record last season] and a bad reputation for the team.” He added, “Coach Hughes wants to turn this reputation and program around by putting us through practices similar to those of his college [State University at New York-Cortland] and holding the team to higher standards.”
The Kits beat Deerfield, 11-5, on March 22 in the home opener at Lazier Field at Memorial Stadium. “The best thing we did [against] Deerfield was our face-off play. If you win at [the start of a play] you control the ball. I give the credit to our face-off guy, Kevin Jamieson,” said Coach Hughes.
But the coach was not completely satisfied with his team’s performance, he said. “What we didn’t do so well was play smart. We had too many unforced turnovers, penalties and bad shots. We need to play smarter, control the ball and play team defense.”
In a game on March 26, the Kits beat Grayslake Central, 14-4. Jamieson said of that game, “[It] ended with a pretty good victory, but there was a lot of room for improvement and we took a lot of bad penalties which definitely hurt us.” He added, “If we want to beat some of the very good teams we play down the road we will have to play a lot better game.”
The Kits beat Fenwick at home on April 8, 11-5, and on April 10, they beat Fremd, 14-4. The Kits scored the first three goals of that game, two of which came from senior Kyle Siegel. But Fremd answered with consecutive goals to get to within 3-2.
From there, the Kits went on an 11-2 run to close out the game. Siegel finished with five goals, his second consecutive hat trick. Junior Aidan Kelly-Lowenstein scored three and junior Charlie Mayne added two more for the Kits, who won their fourth game of the year, surpassing last year’s win total.
Of the remaining teams on the schedule, one team sticks out to Coach Hughes in particular as the team to beat: “Glenbrook South [because] they are a great team with an even better coach, Mike Gabel.” Coach Hughes added, “We are good friends, but we’re also very competitive in hoops, bags, and especially lacrosse. We’ve really built this rivalry.” The Kits were scheduled to play GBS on April 13, after this paper went to press.
The Kits’ upcoming schedule includes a matchup with archrival New Trier on April 15 and Hoffman Estates on April 17. Then on April 24, they play Oak Park-River Forest, and on April 27 they visit Glenbrook North.
Coach Hughes is counting on the entire team, he says, to play well the rest of the year. “I am counting on all of my players. We are a team. Everyone has a role, and they must fulfill these roles to help add to our success.”
“We have a certain x factor. I can’t explain it, but when these kids play to their full potential, we can be a very scary team,” said the coach.
If the Kits are able to play up to their potential, the future will be bright indeed for this team in the years to come.