Before the 2011 season began, the Evanston Township High School boys’ soccer team knew that lack of experience would not be an issue this season. The Wildkits returned 17 players from last season and have had no problems playing quality soccer so far this season.
The Kits have a 10-2-2 overall record and hope to keep it up heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
“[The season] is going well,” said head coach Franz Calixte. “We have a lot more experience than last year and it has shown regarding our record. That experience is definitely paying off.”
On Sept. 24, the Kits played St. Viator and the game ended up tied, 1-1. The Kits led 1-0 late in the second half but St. Viator scored on a corner kick to force extra time. In the extra session, neither team was able to push the ball through the net before time expired, giving the Kits their second tie of the season.
“We did not play that well in extra time,” said Coach Calixte.
On Sept. 22, the Kits beat Central Suburban League South foe Maine South, 3-1, giving them four Conference victories on the season against zero losses and sole possession of first place in Conference with one Conference game remaining.
“[It was a] good win,” said the Coach. “We had the game in hand early and we were playing good soccer.”
Two days earlier, the Kits took on archrival New Trier at Lazier Field at Memorial Stadium in Evanston and the Kits were able to end a nine game losing streak against the Trevians with a 3-1, win. The game was tied at 1-1 with under seven minutes remaining when junior defenseman Jonathan Balthazar scored a goal, then junior forward Daniel Lev added another goal to make the score 3-1.
“It was a good game,” said Coach Calixte. “It was one of those where we had to get over the hump. It was nice to win and to get that under our belt.” He added, “It shows them that it can be done.”
The victory was the first against New Trier since 2003. The win gave the Kits possession of the fire hydrant trophy, which is awarded to the winner of this game.
“It feels great,” said Calixte regarding reclaiming the trophy. “Some of the guys did not know what it was or that we played for that. [But] now it’s back home in Evanston.”
The upcoming schedule for the Kits includes the CSL Conference finale with rival Niles West on Sept. 27, the day this paper went to press. On Sept. 30, the Kits participate in the St. Viator tournament followed by a game at Warren on Oct. 3 to close the regular season.
“Every game is important. There are no easy games,” said Calixte. “Hopefully we can gain [momentum] from these games [going into the postseason].”
Regarding the team’s goals for the rest of the season, Calixte said “We want to win Conference. We have a chance [against Niles West] to go from 0-5 last year to 5-0 this year.” The Coach added, “We hope to get as far as we can in the playoffs.”
With the amount of experience on this team, there is no telling how far that can be.