After improving to 9-2-2 overall in beating Jacobs on Sept. 27, it is clear that the Evanston Township High School boys’ soccer team has been on a roll all season. So the Wildkits hoped the good times would keep on rolling against archrival New Trier on Sept. 30 in Northfield.
That is exactly what happened as the Kits beat the Trevians, 2-1, in a defensive battle of Central Suburban League South Conference rivals. In that game, senior Oli Jacques scored the game-winning goal with just over three minutes remaining in the second half. He also assisted on junior Erick Balthazar’s goal in the first half. Balthazar’s goal tied the score at, 1-1, after the Trevians took the lead two minutes earlier, in the 13th minute of the half. The score remained at 1-1 until Jacques’ goal gave the Kits the lead, which they were able to keep. With the victory, the Kits improved to 10-2-2 overall and 3-1-1 in CSL South Conference play.
In beating the Trevians, the Kits also maintained possession of the fire hydrant trophy, which is awarded to the winner of this contest, for the fourth straight year. “It was a great battle of two strong teams,” said Kits’ head coach Franz Calixte regarding his team’s performance. “They are a very dangerous team that left everything out on the field, but so did we.”
Regarding Jacques’ performance, Coach Calixte said it was a typical day at the office for the senior, saying, “He played as he was supposed to. He is a three-year varsity player who has not lost to New Trier, so we expected him to play big.”
Also playing big in that game were the defensive unit of seniors Bret Lowry, Ben Rogan, Ben Osterlund, along with junior goalie Adam Masters, who denied the hosts from scoring on five consecutive corner kick opportunities in the final minutes of the game.
From there, the Kits participated in the Mid-States Classic tournament at Olympic Park on Oct. 3 and 4. In that tournament, the Kits beat Springfield Sacred Heart, 2-0, tied Quincy Notre Dame, 1-1 and beat St. Viator, 2-1, to give them the tournament title. “We played very well and everyone played,” said Coach Calixte regarding his team’s performance. “The comment we got from Quincy Notre Dame and St. Viator is that we are very difficult to scout because everyone played and played well…they did not know who to key in on.”
With the two victories and tie in the Mid-States Classic, the Kits improved their overall record to 12-2-3. When asked how he feels the season is going so far, the coach said, “So far so good, we are playing consistently and are finding ways to create more scoring opportunities.” He also said the keys to success the rest of the season include cashing in on scoring chances. “[The key is] capitalizing on our scoring opportunities. We lost to Waukegan [on Sept. 23] after hitting the post five times and missing two point blank shots.”
On Oct. 3, the IHSA playoff bracket was released and the Kits earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 3A Niles North Sectional. Heading into postseason play, the Kits’ goal is to win the Sectional championship at the very least, as they fell to Wheeling in the Sectional final last season. “We have said from the beginning of the season that we want to improve upon last year’s success,” said Coach Calixte. “That is still the goal.”
In order for that to happen, he says, the key is, “Being true to the beautiful game of soccer.” The Coach added, “We play good soccer because it brings us success. When we are on, it will be difficult to beat us because we can get you from every position.”
But before the postseason gets underway, the Kits finish the regular season against Warren High School on Oct. 14. From there, the Kits hope to keep rolling as they open the postseason against the winner of the Loyola Academy and Mt. Prospect matchup as part of the Evanston Regional on Oct. 21 at Lazier Field in Evanston.