After advancing to the IHSLA Sectional final last season and finishing with an overall record of 11-9, the Evanston Township High School boys’ lacrosse team hopes to advance to that point again (if not farther) this season.
The Kits got off on the right track toward reaching that point by beating Deerfield 11-5 in the season and home opener on March 17 at Lazier Field in Evanston. From there, after falling just short against Oak Park on March 19 by a tally of 13-12, the Kits rattled off four wins in a row. The streak included wins over Benet Academy 9-5 on March 22, Glenbrook North 11-10 in overtime on April 5, Highland Park 11-10 in overtime on April 12, and Glenbrook South 7-5 on April 14. With the win over GBS, the Kits improved to 5-1 overall.
After beating Glenbrook South, the Kits looked to extend the winning streak to five games in a row when they took on Libertyville and Wheaton North on April 16 at Brainerd Field in Libertyville as part of the Libertyville Tri. But that was unfortunately not in the cards as the Kits lost to Libertyville, 14-9, and then were defeated by Wheaton North by a score of 7-6 in overtime. This was the third overtime game the Kits have played so far this season, but the loss dropped their record in overtime games to 2-1.
Regarding his team’s performance against Libertyville and Wheaton North, head coach Justin Porter was not pleased, saying “We had a bad weekend of lacrosse, we have not played a full game of lacrosse yet (this season) but we just got to keep working and trying to get better and more consistent as we get into the [difficult part] of the schedule.” The Coach added, “I think the only positive we can take away from the game is our backup goalie Braden Carter came in and did a very nice job keeping us in the ballgame.”
With the loss to Wheaton North, the Kits record fell to 5-3 overall. As they enter the final month of the season, Coach Porter feels there is work to do, but the first year head coach had a hunch that would be the case upon entering his inaugural season. “We are not having that good of a year. It is tough coming into a new program and it is tough trying to change the culture and the mindset and the mentality that [has existed] for seven or eight years,” the Coach explained. “It is what it is. [The remainder of the year] is going to be a rebuild for us. I kind of knew I was [facing a restructuring] when I took the job, but that is what it is.”
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Kits are entering the home stretch of the schedule which includes some tough matchups (including archrival New Trier on April 28 and St. Ignatius on May 10). Coach Porter knows his team will need to bring their best in order to finish the season strong and gain some momentum heading into the postseason.
“Every game is going to be a playoff game from here on out. Guys just have to show up and be ready to play,” said the Coach. “The softer part of the schedule is over, and now going into the thick of [the schedule] at 5-3, we could possibly, realistically not win another game [so] it is a tipping point, the pressure is high, all of the stakes are high [so] we will see what happens.”
Next up, the Kits return to Lazier Field to take on Glenbard West on April 21, followed by Grayslake North on April 23. From there, they travel to Northfield for the aforementioned matchup with the Trevians.