After opening the Evanston Invitational tournament with two straight victories, the Evanston Township High School boys soccer team took on Walter Payton College Prep on Sept. 2 in the tournament finale looking for a third straight tournament victory to capture the tournament title.
The Wildkits were able to do just that as they beat the Grizzlies by a score of 5-1. The Kits got on the board first when Miguel Jimenez scored with 27:40 remaining in the first half. But the Grizzlies tied it at 1-1 with 14:31 to go on a play that saw the ball go just out of goalie Gavin Rosengarten’s reach.
“That was a beautiful shot and it was their first shot,” remarked Kits head coach Franz Calixte on Payton’s goal. “But we never panicked, we were fine. But it was a great shot and it was one that [Gavin] will learn from. We already addressed how you are supposed to dive on that. It’s good that it happened now.”
Then, after Nathan Pollack put the Kits ahead 2-1 with 11:44 in the half, Colin Thompson scored the first of his three goals on a penalty kick after Payton committed a hand ball violation at the 10:49 mark. That goal made the score 3-1 at intermission.
After getting two shots on goal in the opening minutes of the second half, the Kits extended the lead to 4-1 when Colin kicked it past the goalie with 31:24 remaining. From there, he completed the hat trick when he scored his third straight goal with 11 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory for the Kits.
With the win, the Kits clinched the Evanston Invitational Tournament for the sixth straight year and improved to 4-1 overall. Regarding how his team played in the tournament, Coach Calixte said, “Overall pretty well. In the Lake Forest Academy game [a 1-0 victory on Aug. 29] we had 18 shots and nine on goal but we only scored one goal.” The Coach continued, “So we were not too happy about that. Then we came back and scored a lot of goals against Mather [in a 6-0 win on Aug. 31] and five goals [against Payton], so in terms of getting our offense going I think we are going in the right direction.”
The Kits outscored their three opponents in the Evanston Invitational Tournament by a 12-1 tally. Through the first five games of the season, they have outscored opponents 14-5. These numbers certainly please Coach Calixte, but he indicates there is still work to be done. “Overall [the season is going] pretty good. We had a couple injuries early and a couple guys miss games and we are still working on our rotation, but now we are just focused on our system of play and this tournament gave us an opportunity to do that.”
Next up, the Kits were set to take on Highland Park on Sept. 5 followed by Maine West on Sept. 9. Regarding those matchups, Coach Calixte said, “Those are two tough crossover teams. But Highland Park has a great coach and he is going to get them in line and it is going to be tough to play against them.” After the Maine West game, the Kits take on Niles North on Sept. 12 and then return home to Lazier Field to take on Glenbrook South on Sept. 14.