Time of possession doesn’t really count in the game of soccer.
Especially in postseason play.
That’s a lesson that the Evanston boys soccer team paid the ultimate price for Saturday in the championship game of the Class 3A New Trier Sectional tournament.
Despite dominating play for most of the contest, the top-seeded Wildkits couldn’t find the back of the net and Oak Park-River Forest pulled off a 3-0 upset Oct. 30 behind three goals from sophomore star Easton Bogard.
Bogard’s first-half goal – the only time, according to ETHS head coach Franz Calixte, that the conservative Huskies even crossed midfield – gave the No. 3 seed the lead midway through the first half, and Bogard tacked on two more tallies, one coming on a penalty kick, in a 3-minute stretch of the second half.
Oak Park will take a 19-3 record into Tuesday’s supersectional against Fremd. Evanston’s season ended at 15-3-4.
“The path was there for us to get to state, although beating Fremd would have been no sure thing,” said Calixte, whose team tied Fremd 2-2 in the season opener. “We had a game plan and it was working, but we were up against a team with a phenomenal goal scorer.
“They scored the first time he touched the ball up front, and they scored the second time he touched it. That was really the game. There wasn’t even anything we wanted to change at halftime because Oak Park wasn’t attacking at all.”
Evanston had one potential goal wiped out in the first half when the officials whistled Will Travis for offsides on a dead ball play that began with a direct kick by Sebastian Leon. Twenty-four hours after the game, Calixte still wasn’t sure about the call.
“Will came from the outside on the play and they said it was no goal because there was no play on the ball by the defense,” Calixte said. “But the ball bounced off their wall before the goal was scored. How could the defense not make a play there? The wall was there to make a play, to stop the shot. I’ll have to look at the film to figure that one out.
“It was a tough one for us to lose because we outplayed them. I’m very proud of the 23 seniors because we had a great run this year. The game of soccer is so beautiful, but it can be so cruel too.”