Evanston’s soccer team doesn’t exactly swarm all over opponents like the couple of dozen pesky bees threatened to do on the sidelines Saturday at Lazier Field.
But even playing a more patient and disciplined style this season with a turnover in personnel from last year, the Wildkits can still sting.
Oli Jacques netted two goals and Max Goldsmith and Jesus Villasenor both scored off the bench as the Wildkits claimed the championship of the Evanston Invitational tournament with a 4-0 blanking of Walter Payton Prep.
It marked the third straight tourney title for ETHS at its own invite and boosted the host team to a 4-1-1 overall record.
Known at times over the past couple of decades for a more direct (and flashier) style of play, the Kits are thriving with a more finesse approach this fall. And the results have been just as good.
“We could be more direct and try to score more that way, but I’m really pleased by the way they worked for goals and stuck with the game plan today,” said Evanston head coach Franz Calixte. “We need that kind of discipline when we get to the state playoffs. These guys are all on the same page and they’re putting the team ahead of themselves and their stats.
“Last year with some of our big guys (Gus Fleps, Timothy Kenney) we played a more direct style, and that was OK with the guys that we had. But this is more of a finesse team and we really just try to wear other teams down. You have to give credit to Walter Payton because today was the best I’ve seen them play all week (at the conclusion of the round-robin tourney). By no means was this easy. We won because of our discipline.
“I really prefer to play disciplined soccer if we can. That means that good soccer will always prevail, if you play disciplined.”
Evanston’s patience paid off in the 13th minute, when Jacques connected following a long pass from Adam Trujillo. The play was built on the first touch by senior midfielder Kepler Wrobec that led to a hook-up with Trujillo.
The Kits stung Payton with two goals in the final 2 minutes, 14 seconds to close out a fundamentally sound first half. Goldsmith’s ground ball laser shot beat the Payton keeper at the 2:14 mark, and with just 38 seconds left Villasenor converted a rebound with Ben Rogan taking the initial shot.
A header by Jacques concluded the scoring with 22:24 remaining in the game, as Evanston completed a three-game sweep and scored its fourth straight victory.
“We’re very happy to win our own tournament,” Calixte said. “Everyone played good minutes this week and we got to put them in a lot of different situations. We got a good look at everyone and that’s really what this (early season) tournament is for.”