Oli Jacques didn’t need instant replay to review his game-winning goal Tuesday night in Northfield.
What Evanston senior wouldn’t recall every detail of a game-winning score against arch-rival New Trier?
Jacques’ goal with 3 minutes, 3 seconds remaining lifted Evanston to a 2-1 win over the Trevians and denied the losers a chance to clinch the Central Suburban League South division championship.
The Wildkits (10-2-2 overall) boosted their own league mark to 3-1-1 and actually vaulted past New Trier (12-3-2, 3-1) in the division standings with 10 points to New Trier’s 9. But ETHS is finished with its CSL schedule while New Trier concludes its conference season Wednesday at Waukegan.
So the Kits will likely just have to settle for possession of the rivalry’s fire hydrant trophy — for the fourth straight year — and a possible No. 1 seed for the Class 3A Niles North Sectional tournament when coaches sit down to do the voting later this week.
“There’s no better feeling than beating New Trier,” said Jacques, who also earned an assist on Evanston’s first goal of the night. “They’ve been ranked 5th or 6th all year and I feel like a lot of the rankings haven’t been giving us any love. So we have a chip on our shoulders, and I feel like we’re on the map now.
“On the goal, we possessed at about the 18 (yard line) and I think it was Chris Vergara who played the ball into the box. The ball popped out to me and I shot a half volley under the goalkeeper’s left arm. No, I don’t need instant replay. It’s playing in my head right now.”
Jacques provided the offensive heroics and the defensive trio of Bret Lowry, Ben Rogan and Ben Osterlund turned in one of their best performances of the season even though the Wildkits did surrender a goal.
That trio was especially instrumental — along with goalie Adam Masters — in denying a late New Trier surge that featured five consecutive corner kick opportunities for the frustrated hosts in the last two minutes.
“It’s an unreal feeling to beat New Trier like this, and I’d love to see them again in the (state) playoffs,” Lowry said. “It was very frantic and scary there at the end. But as scary as it was, I still had the feeling that we’d get through it.
“New Trier has three of the best forwards in the conference, and even though they scored, this was a win for the defense. But it’s a relief knowing Oli and Erick (Balthazar) are there to put away goals. That takes the pressure off us.”
One of those Trevian forwards, Tommy Belliel, got the Trevians on the board in the 13th minute on a pass from Duncan Gill. But Evanston countered two minutes later when Jacques slipped a pass to Balthazar, and he turned and cranked a high shot over the head of New Trier keeper Jonathan Jaggard to tie the score.
Evanston’s ability to limit restarts by the hosts in the second half — until the last two minutes, that is — helped keep the Trevs off the board after that.
“I’m just very happy that New Trier only got one (goal),” said ETHS head coach Franz Calixte. “Their forwards are the biggest and strongest and most skilled we’ve played against this year, so I can accept the fact that we didn’t get a shutout. This was still a defensive victory.
“There aren’t too many defenders like Bret Lowry. He knows the angles, he knows when to cheat up, and he’s like a safety valve back there. He’s had a phenomenal year for us.
“It’s a big win because these guys have to get used to winning big games, so when we get more into a playoff mode it’s a mindset where they’re prepared to win these games.”