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Freshman Martin Torres-Moreno scored 2 goals in his first varsity postseason tournament game and the Evanston bench took care of the rest of the scoring Tuesday as the Wildkits opened Class 3A regional tournament play at Lazier Field with a 6-0 triumph over Maine East.
Seeded third in the Glenbrook South Sectional complex, the Kits improved to 16-1-2 overall and will host Prospect — a 2-1 winner over Niles West on penalty kicks — in Saturday’s regional championship game at 5 p.m.
Torres-Moreno, the team’s leading scorer on the season, scored Evanston’s first and second-to-last goals. In between, it was the reserves who stepped up on what might be the deepest Wildkit team talent-wise in the program’s history.
Julian Granzetto (2 goals), Eric Cyiza, and Baruani Kamangila all found the back of the net and junior reserve Chhabi Darjee contributed a pair of assists to ease the concerns veteran head coach Franz Calixte had now that the one loss-and-done portion of the season is underway.
Torres-Moreno scored the game’s first goal exactly 2 minutes in, converting a pass from Dylan Taglang, and the hosts never looked back after that.
“It’s the first game and there are always playoff butterflies,” said Calixte. “You don’t ever know who’s going to show up, until the whistle blows. After we scored that first goal I felt a lot more confident, even though we didn’t really play well for the first 8 minutes or so.
“Without a doubt, we have a lot of guys who could start for other teams on our bench. But this team is so deep that just being a starter doesn’t carry as much weight as it might have in years past for us. And we have some guys who are just very good in their roles coming off the bench, guys who are able to come in and give us a spark.
“As an example, Tags (Taglang) was playing very well, but we put Chhabi in for him because he gives us a different look. And (defender) Nick James didn’t have a great first half, so we had Charlie Levisay jump in there and do the job for us. Then Nick came back in and played great in the second half.
“They know it’s not a punishment when we take them out of the game. They know we have a lot of options on this team this year.”
Torres-Moreno, a freshman who has now totaled 14 goals and 7 assists on the season, scored in the second minute and again in the 56th minute as the Kits defeated the Blue Demons for the second time this season.
Goalie Daniel Linder was credited with 7 saves for the winners.