The Evanston Township High School boys’ soccer team entered their final regular season game against Stevenson on Oct. 13 looking to gain some momentum heading into the postseason.
In that game, the Wildkits were able to accomplish that as they beat the Patriots by a score of 3-1 in Lincolnshire. Leading the way for the Kits was junior Miguel Jimenez, who scored two goals, helping the Kits take a 2-1 lead. But it was junior Colin Thompson who iced the game for the Kits, as he scored a goal with just over two minutes remaining to put it out of reach at 3-1.
Regarding his team’s performance against Stevenson, Head Coach Franz Calixte said, “It was a good, physical game for us, and a good pre-playoff game.” The Coach added, “[Miguel] is starting to get his touch back, and he is starting to get his scoring back.” Coach Calixte continued, “He was the one who scored [most] in the first four or five games, so we were expecting him to have 15 or 20 goals, but he has 10 now. So he started off strong and we were afraid that he had peaked already, but now he is starting to find the goal again and that is important because we need all our guys to be peaking right now.”
With that win, the Kits finished the regular season with an overall record of 15-1-4, which included a 5-0-1 record over their last six games. Regarding his team’s overall performance, Coach Calixte said, “Of our four ties, I would say, three of them we should have won if we had put our [scoring] opportunities away, but I think we did very, very well.” The Coach continued, “If you had told me at the beginning of the year, after we replaced 16 seniors from last year, that we would have only one loss, I would have laughed at you. But these guys have gone above and beyond the expectations. Now we are starting to peak and get some confidence, and that is a good thing going into the playoffs.”
The Kits earned the No. 3 seed in the Maine East Sectional and were set to begin postseason play by hosting Maine East at Lazier Field in Evanston on Oct. 18 as part of the Evanston Regional. “We will play one game at a time,” said Coach Calixte regarding postseason expectations. “You never want to [look] past a team. We will look at and scout each team separately and if we are peaking and we are putting goals away that we were missing in the regular season, I think we will do very well.”
When asked what the keys to postseason success are, the Coach said it will come down to becoming a “dangerous” team that creates and finishes scoring opportunities. “We have to start shooting more. We have to get a little more dangerous,” explained Coach Calixte. “We do a good job of possessing the ball, but now we have to create dangerous opportunities and we need more dangerous opportunities per half. So you will see us trying to score and shoot a little bit more than we have in the past during the regular season. We just have to get dangerous, that is all.”
Against Maine East, the Kits were certainly the more dangerous team, as they beat the Blue Demons by a score of 4-1. With the victory, the Kits now take on Loyola on Oct. 22 in the Regional title game.