Maybe Steve Morris, the single season record holder for goals in a season for the Evanston boys soccer program, did it back in 1986.
But no one else has done what Cristiano Hamer accomplished in a three-day span for the Wildkits last week.
Two days after scoring a hat trick in a lopsided win against Maine East, Hamer did it again. The lightning-quick junior forward scored three more goals Saturday as the Wildkits notched a signature victory over Class 3A defending state champion Naperville Central.
No star shined brighter than Hamer at the showcase event at Olympic Park in Schaumburg featuring teams from all over Illinois. His three goals helped the undefeated Kits net a convincing 5-1 triumph as they extended their winning streak to eight in a row to start the season.
‘This going to be good’
Evanston stepped up in class by knocking off the defending champs, although Naperville graduated more than half of its starters and its top returning scorer decided to play club ball instead of high school. The Kits decked the losers with a four-goal outburst in the first 20 minutes, and Hamer’s goal on a rebound late in the game was the highlight of a second half in which the teams played evenly.
ETHS head coach Franz Calixte could probably field a pretty competitive 4×100-meter relay team during the spring track season if he chose to switch sports. Speed is certainly a strength for the Wildkits, and it’s likely that Naperville Central never had to deal with this kind of speed even while the Redhawks marched to the state crown a year ago.
“Naperville just couldn’t match up with us up front,” said Calixte. “When I saw Bryan [Maldonado] outrun his guy – he’s the slowest one of our forwards – I thought oh boy, this is going to be good.
“This isn’t the fastest team I’ve ever had, but it is like having a 4×100 relay team that’s good. Right now Tino [Hamer] is really on fire, but the others are going to get their shots too. They have the talent and the drive and the mindset to be able to score multiple goals in any game too.
“I wouldn’t call this a statement win, though. It should have been a statement because it should have been a shutout, but we gave up that goal on a fluke [a bad backward pass]. I’m not happy with the second half. You can’t take your foot off the gas pedal, and that’s what we did. When they got up 4-0 I think somehow they thought they didn’t have to keep going forward.”
Giving it up to Tino
Hamer’s teammates have already recognized that putting the ball at his feet means something good is about to happen.
“At first, because I’m a junior, I didn’t think I’d get the ball much. But as we get closer and closer and get to know each other better, now they know that if I’m open, it’s almost a guaranteed goal,” said the player who scored 26 goals for the sophomore team a year ago. “They know when they get the ball, once they look up they know to get it to me because I’m gone [breaking toward the goal].
“Once I score a goal I try to stay on the ball and keep scoring. After scoring three goals Thursday [in a 10-1 trouncing of Maine East], I wanted to do it again today. And I want to do it in our next game too. Coming up [through the lower levels of the ETHS and club programs] I was usually the fastest guy to the ball, so this is just more of the same to me.”
Maldonado kicks it off
It was Maldonado who set the tone with his tally in the first two minutes of the contest. He was tripped during a scoring run, and his ensuing penalty kick showed Naperville that the heir apparent to their crown might actually be on the opposite side of the field Saturday.
Orlando Tobin netted the second goal for the winners, nudging in a laser-like corner kick from Ben Roman on a corner kick opportunity. Hamer converted on a breakaway opportunity just seconds later – and two minutes later, his shot deflected off a defender and into the back of the net to boost Evanston’s advantage to 4-0.
Naperville (4-3-2 overall) did spoil goalie Cade Likhite’s bid for a shutout early in the second half, when an ETHS turnover led to a tally by Jonathan Stohner. Likhite was credited with six saves for the winners.
ETHS earned a last-minute invitation via email from the showcase director and Calixte pounced on the opportunity to add a game. A handful of the Wildkits, however, had already planned college visits for what looked originally to be an open weekend on the schedule. Top defender Oliver Hassard was absent, but in his absence senior Jeremy Schoen made sure there wasn’t a letdown.
“I thought Jeremy did a fantastic job back there,” Calixte said. “He’s really stepped up for us, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”