Evanston’s volleyball team missed out on a rare opportunity to beat arch-rival New Trier twice in the same season Wednesday night.
The Wildkits might have also missed out on a chance to win at least a share of their first Central Suburban League South division championship since 1987, too.
In a reversal of the usual dynamic in the CSL South race, it was long-time league power New Trier that assumed the spoiler role with a 25-18, 25-21 victory that knocked ETHS two games behind front-runner Glenbrook South with three matches remaining.
Evanston (10-13 overall) dropped to 5-2 in the conference after the host Trevians reeled off the last five points to overcome a one-point deficit at the end of the second set.
The Kits are still mathematically alive — with Niles West and Waukegan still left to play before they wrap up the league season versus GBS — but now they’ll likely need a little help from their rivals to even earn a share of the title.
“The way New Trier played tonight, they have a chance to beat GBS. We need New Trier to play like that, because then if we win out we could still get a tie,” said ETHS coach Pam MacPherson. “We’re still working to find the right chemistry as a team. We’ve had different people step up every night, which is great, but it’s hard to run a lineup out there when there’s no consistency.
“I’m really proud of the way they fought in that second game. We played more together as a team tonight. Now I hate having our future depend on other people, but that’s where we are in the conference now.”
New Trier, which lost to the Kits in two sets last month at Beardsley Gym, was paced by junior Erin Denham with 7 kills, 5 of them coming in the second set. Evanston overcame early passing problems but still couldn’t generate much offense, hitting for a negative percentage as a team despite 6 kills by Ehize Omoghibo and 3 from Stasie Litinsky.
New Trier broke out to a 10-4 lead and never looked back in the first set, but it was the visitors who came on strong at the start of the second set as blocks by Omoghibo and Wali Deutsch, a New Trier hitting error and a kill by Omoghibo provided a quick 4-0 advantage.
The hosts finally caught and passed the Kits at 12-11 in the second set, and the lead changed hands eight times down the stretch.
Evanston’s last lead came at 21-20 after an ace serve by Aliana Alanguilan. But a tip Denham tied the score, and two aces by Brooke Bernstein helped the Trevians avoid the first regular sweep by Evanston in the rivalry since the 2009 season.