The Evanston Township High School’s boys soccer team handed New Trier its first loss of the 2021 season in a battle of unbeaten teams last fall.
The Trevians waited an entire year – plus 75 minutes – to return the favor Tuesday night in Northfield.
Goals by Cole Driscoll (19th minute) and Wyatt McAlexander (62nd minute) and a stout defensive performance by the hosts delivered the 2-0 win that allowed New Trier (10-1-2 overall) to claim the fire hydrant trophy that is awarded to the victor in the rivalry match every year.
Evanston, now 7-1-2, still leads the all-time soccer series standings with 44 wins to 43 for New Trier. The two rivals have tied 22 times.
The start of the game was delayed 75 minutes by lightning and thunderstorms in the area. That wait just teased the soccer appetite of the close to 1,000 spectators who showed up to see two teams that could easily meet in the finals of the Class 3A Glenbrook South sectional tournament in a few weeks.
New Trier had the upper hand Tuesday in a wide-open game where no one possessed the ball for more than a couple of heartbeats.
That’s not the style Evanston wanted to play.
“It was a game of [different] styles,” said Evanston head coach Franz Calixte. “They just kept blasting the ball [with deep kicks] to those very fast guys they have up front, and their defense did a good job of staying back so we couldn’t attack with numbers.
“This was a good learning experience for us. They played their prevent defense very well, and it was good for us to see it now, instead of later. Tonight, they were the better team.”
ETHS only put five shots on goal for the night against Trevian goalkeeper Thomas Terry. The sophomore’s brilliant stop on Diego Velasquez in the 51st minute belongs on New Trier’s highlight tape for the season – and maybe the all-time tape, too.
The play began with a free kick from the 32-yard line by Evanston’s Joseph Munyaneza following a foul. Munyaneza drilled a line drive right through the defense to Velasquez, who came knifing in for what seemed certain to be the game-tying goal.
But Terry had other ideas. He somehow lifted a hand at the last possible second to deflect the shot away on a bang-bang play.
“Their goalie was on fire on that play. He came up big and made an amazing play,” Calixte said. “In a game like that you don’t usually get a lot of saves, but you have to come up big at some point.”
After that, the Wildkits never really came close to scoring again.
“I saw the ball go through, I knew I wasn’t offside, and I reached my foot out and got it. But he read the play and he was right there,” said a disappointed Velasquez. “That saved the game. A goal there could have changed the game.
“We tried to possess the ball more, but they pressured us and it seemed like we lost possession every time. This was more like a kickball game. We came in too cocky tonight. I think we underestimated them.”
A highlight for the losers was the defensive play of senior Patrick Osilaja, who broke up several potential scoring runs by the Trevians in both halves. “Patrick has been playing fantastic soccer for us in the back,” said Calixte. “He’s giving us senior leadership and he’s really playing with confidence. He’s really flourishing for us.”
The victory gives New Trier the edge in the Central Suburban League division race and could help the Trevs secure the No. 1 seed for the sectional too. “Right now I guess it’s a one-team race,” said the ETHS coach. “But they do play Glenbrook South and Glenbrook North, and anything can still happen.”