Caleb Trautvetter couldn’t help kicking his equipment bag in frustration.
The Evanston senior knew he’d missed an opportunity to score the biggest goal of his high school soccer career — by inches.
Trautvetter’s rebound shot hit the crossbar with three and one-half minutes remaining, and the Wildkits settled for a 0-0 tie on the road Saturday against conference leader Maine South.
An ETHS victory could have knocked the Hawks out of the driver’s seat in the Central Suburban League South division title chase in the final days. Instead, Maine South (2-0-2) has the edge under the conference scoring system with 8 points to Evanston’s 7 (2-1-1). The Wildkits are still mathematically alive, however, and can win the crown outright if they beat arch-rival New Trier Monday night while Maine South loses to Waukegan on Tuesday.
Head coach Franz Calixte recognized Saturday’s missed opportunity but was proud of the way his players bounced back following their first loss of the season, a 1-0 defeat at Waukegan. ETHS now owns a 9-1-2 overall record and Saturday’s triumph marked the 10th shutout of the season for goalie Adam Masters, who notched 3 saves.
And Calixte refused to point a finger of blame at Trautvetter, a reserve who came off the bench and was just one of several Wildkits who had dangerous scoring chances over the course of the 80 minute game.
“We bounced back well today as a team and I think we’re back on track,” said the veteran head coach.
“Poor Caleb had that miss, but he worked so hard to get that chance. He usually plays fullback but I put him in the midfield at the end because I thought we needed his touch there, and he did everything I asked him to do.
“People in the stands might be saying how could he miss that shot, but soccer people know that wasn’t the easiest shot. Their goalie (Glenn Gronke) made a great save on the first shot and the ball just kinda popped up in the air. We had other opportunities, too, and those chances were pure ones. We should have won this game.”
Senior co-captain Adam Trujillo, a standout all afternoon, created the scoring chance with a long, hard shot that Gronke knocked into the air. Trautvetter’s attempt to convert the rebound, however, glanced off the crossbar above the net.
Evanston almost broke through near the end of the first half when Trujillo was fouled. On the restart from the 25-yard line, Erick Balthazar’s shot was saved by Gronke, and when the rebound went to Henry Young, he lofted a shot that was too high with the keeper still down on the turf.