After finishing the regular season with an overall record of 15-1-2, the Evanston Township High School boys soccer team entered postseason play looking to keep their strong season rolling when they took on Maine East on Oct. 22 in the semifinals of the IHSA Class 3A Evanston Regional round at Lazier Field in Evanston.
The Kits were able to do just that, as they shut out the Blue Demons by a score of 6-0. Goal scorers for the Wildkits in that game included two each by Martin Torres-Moreno and Julian Granzetto, along with scores from Eric Cyiza and Baruani Kamangila. With the win, the hosts improved to 16-1-2 overall and advanced to the Regional title game against Prospect on Oct. 26.
Against Prospect, on a cold and rainy evening at Lazier Field, the Kits prevailed once again by a score of 4-0. In that game, Matthew Webley put the Kits on the board first when he scored with 3:29 remaining in the first half. From there, Martin made it a 2-0 game when he scored with 36:17 remaining in the contest. Julian would extend the lead to 3-0 when he kicked it into the net with 12:33 remaining and Charlie Fies delivered the knockout punch as his goal made it 4-0 with 1:31 left, and the Kits iced away the victory from there.
“With the elements, I think we kept our composure overall. We wore them down, and in the second half is when we started [to show] our next gear. After the first 10 or 15 minutes, we got the butterflies out, and I think we did control the tempo in the first half and in the second half,” said head coach Franz Calixte regarding his team’s performance.
“It helped at the beginning of the second half to score early because then they [Prospect] have to make a decision. Do they open up and try to get a goal, or do they just pack it in? Most times, when they are down 2-0 with 38 minutes left, they have to try to win, so that helped us out because they have to come out of their shell a little bit. But it was a good team win.”
With the victory, the Kits improved to 17-1-2 overall. The shutout was the Kits’ 12th of the season. Regarding that stat, Coach Calixte said, “That is one of the things we highlight the most right now in the playoffs. That is what we talk about. We have to be stingy, we do not want to give up too many opportunities, and we did a good job with that. But we like the shutout.”
When asked how it felt to win the Regional title, which was the Kits’ eighth straight, Coach Calixte said, “You saw the boys celebrating. It is great. We do not take anything for granted here and I love that.” The Coach continued, “I am out here freezing cold and they took the plaque and started running to the fans. It was great and they appreciate that. That is some hardware that we put in our locker room, so it is good, I like it.”
After winning the Regional title, the Wildkits moved to the South Sectional round and beat New Trier 1-0 on Oct. 29, improving their overall record to 18-1-2. The Kits’ only goal came on a free kick in the 58th minute by Quinn Ackman, who put the ball in the top right hand corner of the net.
ETHS’s goalkeeper Daniel Linder had seven saves, bringing the number of shutouts for the season to 13.
The Kits play for the sectional championship on Nov. 1 against top seeded Saint Patrick at Glenbrook South.