Many high school coaches in a variety of sports have been known to privately grumble about the circumstances surrounding their team’s Senior Night.

The change of routine, the emotions involved and the tradition for starting all seniors – when they’re not always the best players in a given program in a given year – can push a team out of sync on that night, even while the recognition is appreciated and necessary.

Stacy Salgado didn’t have any issues like that Tuesday night at Lazier Field. The only problem for the Evanston girls soccer coach is that you can only field 11 players at a time.

Salgado couldn’t start all 13 seniors on the roster, but they all saw significant action in a 5-0 blanking of Maine South that kept the Wildkits undefeated in Central Suburban League South division play and one step closer to the program’s possible first conference title since 2016.

One of those seniors, Brealyn Viamille, scored a hat trick (three goals) and boosted her team-leading total to 14 goals on the year. Evanston improved to 11-1-1 overall, 3-0 in conference play.

“We had two or three girls in different spots than usual, but the nice thing is that we have so many versatile players,” Salgado pointed out after the Wildkits netted four goals in the second half and pulled away from the Hawks. “Maybe a couple of them weren’t completely comfortable tonight, but they’ve had opportunities to play different spots in practice. With 13 seniors, this is the first time I haven’t been able to start them all.

“Emotion is a big thing on a night like this and we had to channel that emotion and find the right balance. This was a big game – and we showed up. We were confident with whoever we had on the field tonight.”

Viamille provided the opening and finishing touches for the winners. She netted her first goal on a breakaway effort in the 10th minute, then concluded the scoring with a tally with just 10 seconds left on the game clock.

Also scoring goals for the Wildkits were sophomores Jocelyn Leigh and Sydney Ross. Junior goalie Ariel Kite was credited with six saves, four coming in the first half when the Kits defense wasn’t quite as organized compared to the normal starting unit.

“I definitely didn’t think that [hat trick] was going to happen tonight,” said Viamille. “It’s an amazing feeling, to be able to do this with a team that I love so much. We had so much emotion in the locker room before the game. I was happy to get one early – I’m not really used to playing in the center because I haven’t done it very much this year – and I thought everyone did a phenomenal job tonight.

“Everyone is connected so well on this team and we’re so close, on and off the field. The chemistry is definitely there because of all these seniors who have kinda been raised in the culture.”

Viamille admitted – and Salgado confirmed – that the Wildkits never talk much as a group about winning a conference title and the subject didn’t really come up when preseason goals were the topic of conversation.

Now the Wildkits can achieve that feat if they can knock off Glenbrook North and New Trier in the last two CSL South matchups.

“We like to take things one game at a time and winning the conference is something we haven’t talked about,” said the senior striker. “Coach doesn’t talk about it either. It’s unspoken, I guess. The closer we get, though, the more we can see it happening. We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing, and if we do, I believe it’s going to happen.”

“Winning the conference would be huge for us, but it’s a process,” said Salgado, who took over as head coach in 2017. “To have a couple of tough games at the end is a good thing for us for the postseason, whether or not we win the conference, because that will prepare us for the state tournament.” 

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