By beating Lake Forest, Mather, and Payton Prep in the Evanston Invitational tournament, the Evanston Township High School boys’ soccer team captured the tournament title for the fourth straight year, improving to 5-0-1 on the season.
Against Payton Prep in the tournament title game on Sept. 5, the Kits prevailed 4-0. Seniors Erick Balthazar, Zane Kashner, Kyle Thompson, along with junior Dylan TerMolen each scored goals, while sophomore Miguel Jimenez contributed two assists with Erick and senior Christyan De La Cruz adding one assist each. After the Payton game, the Kits went on to beat Niles North 1-0 on Sept. 8, Maine East 5-0 on Sept. 9 and Niles West 2-0 on Sept. 12 to improve to 8-0-1 overall.
Then on Sept. 17 the Kits beat Central Suburban League Conference foe Glenbrook South 3-0 on a wet evening at Lazier Field in Evanston. The Kits struck first when junior Josh Klier kicked it past Titans goalie Perry Adamopoulos for a goal with 23 minutes 40 seconds remaining in the first half, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead, going into halftime.
In the second half, the Titans had a golden opportunity to tie the game with 16 minutes 40 seconds remaining, but senior goalie Adam Masters had other ideas, as he made a diving save on a rolling ball that appeared to be headed into the back of the net, thus preserving the Kits’ lead. From there, Erick extended the lead to 2-0 when he scored with eight minutes and 36 seconds left. The Kits would add another insurance goal with three minutes and 25 seconds left when senior Jesus Villasenor scored, making it 3-0.
“We played well enough to win,” said head coach Franz Calixte of his team’s performance against GBS. “There were some good moments in the game where we could possess the ball for an 8 to 12 pass combination, so it was good composure. So we are happy.”
With the win over GBS, the Kits improved to 9-0-1 overall, winning nine games in a row. The Kits also have not allowed a goal in the last nine games, giving Adam nine straight shutouts. The last time the Kits allowed a goal was in the season opener, when they played Conant to a 2-2 tie on Aug. 25.
About that streak, Coach Calixte said, “It is great. That is what we have been working for. That is what we expected. Adam is a big factor, but we have to start giving the credit to the guys in front of him, too, a little bit, because these guys have earned some shutouts,” the Coach said. “There were a couple games Adam came [up] real big and made some astounding saves, and there are other games [like against GBS] he really only had to make one. So he is doing his job, but the guys in front of him are doing very well too.”
For the Kits to maintain this solid play, Coach Calixte said, it will come down to the team continuing to play solid defense. “Just like we have been saying since before we had our first game, we are going to be stingy on defense,” explained the Coach. “That is what we have said from preseason: The goal is not to allow shots and not allow too many opportunities to other teams and get some shutouts.” Calixte continued, “So we are going to continue to be stingy on defense,and hopefully we can put one [goal] up [on the scoreboard] and win with one [goal]. So we are happy.”
Next up, the Kits look to keep rolling as they travel to Waukegan to take on the Bulldogs on Sept. 24, then they take on Maine South on Sept. 26 and New Trier on Sept. 28.
Regarding Waukegan, the Coach said, “I heard Waukegan is very talented, and we have not beaten them [in Waukegan] for at least three years, [so] it is going to be a great battle. It is going to be a clash of styles, [as] we play very low pressure and they like to possess,” the Coach explained. “It is going to seem like they are going to enjoy that possession. They are going to out-possess us probably 80 percent to 20, but hopefully we [limit] their opportunities to get to our goal and we get one or two [goals] and finish the game.”