Over the past week or so, Evanston’s boys soccer team lost the sense of urgency that had powered a group of unproven seniors to an unbeaten start to the 2021 season.
The Wildkits finally paid a price for dropping their level of play, suffering a 2-1 upset loss to Glenbrook North on Tuesday night in Northbrook.
The good news for head coach Franz Calixte’s squad? Despite the defeat, which cost Evanston Township High School its first Central Suburban League South division championship since 2014, and a possible No. 1 seed in the Illinois High School Association sectional tournament, at least now the Wildkits will have time to regroup and do some damage in the postseason.
A mediocre Glenbrook North squad (now 7-4-3 on the season) played the spoiler role in the final conference matchup for visiting ETHS. The Kits fell to 9-1-3 on the year and finished 3-1-1 in league play, handing the league title to archrival New Trier (4-1).
Evanston’s second-half rally fell short despite Sebastian Leon’s successful penalty kick with 6 minutes, 41 seconds left in the game.
“GBN was more solid and more disciplined tonight. The most talented team doesn’t always prevail,” Calixte said. “We haven’t had that sense of urgency lately, to go out and get the next goal, then the next one. We had that in the first 9 minutes tonight, but then they got the momentum and we hit a wall. We need to find more energy, more of a sense of urgency in that 20th to 30th minute stretch.
“Not winning the conference is tough. We don’t have anyone who has ever played in a state tournament game and I wanted to see how they’d respond tonight in a playoff-type of game. At the end of the day, we came up short.
“Sometimes you need a smack in the mouth before the state playoffs start, and that can be a good thing for a team.”
Unable to crack the Spartans’ soft defense in the early going, Evanston surrendered a goal by GBN’s Ian Lee in the 13th minute. Ten minutes later, the hosts boosted their advantage to two goals when an Evanston defender was whistled for a pushing foul and Miles Wolder pounded his direct kick past Evanston goalkeeper Chance Pape.