Boys soccer must be remembered as champions

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Boys soccer must be remembered as champions

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One loss doesn’t define a season.

Despite the fact that boys soccer fell 1-0 to Libertyville in super sectionals, this team should be remembered as winners, not the team that almost made it to state.

21 wins. 2 losses. 6 goals allowed in 25 games. 21 shutouts. 2 All-State selections in Erick Balthazar and Adam Masters. Number 3 in state, number 30 in the country, and before the playoffs, this was the number 1 ranked team in state and number 7 in the country. The numbers speak for themselves: this was one heck of a team.

Many fans expected this to be a down year due to the departure of several key seniors, including All-State selections Breton Lowry and Oli Jacques.

However, the chemistry of this year’s senior class proved to be one of the team’s biggest strengths, as many of these players had been playing together since they were eight years old.

The team worked extremely well as a unit, utilizing an effective defense-first playing style. In most games, the Kits completely took the opponent’s attack out of the game, leading to a ton of goals off of counterattacks.

Perhaps the team’s finest performances were against highly-ranked Warren and eventual state champs Libertyville early on in the regular season. The Kits picked up 1-0 wins in both games, even though the team was missing star forwards Balthazar and Jesus Villasenor.

The boys boasted a very impressive 14-0-2 record at home. They almost won all 16 of those games, but the first of the ties came in the first game of the season against Conant, and the second against GBN in a game where coach Calixte put players in different positions to confuse a Spartans team that they expected to play in the postseason.

The team’s success also made their matches huge draws for fans. Soccer has never seen crowds as big as say, football games, but students and parents alike came out to every single one of the team’s home games, making Lazier Field a fortress.

The team’s 1-0 victory over New Trier in late September saw the biggest crowd at an ETHS soccer game in over a decade. Even in playoff games that were as far as an hour and a half away, ETHS students made the trek to see their boys play. This team was the pride of Evanston throughout the fall.

A lot of this success has to be owed to the coaches. Calixte and the rest of the staff have built ETHS soccer into one of the most consistent programs at Evanston, and one of the best in the state.

A string of regional championships and Sweet 16 finishes over the past few seasons is testament to the ability of this staff.

A season like this will be hard to replicate, but if the last couple of years are any indication, ETHS soccer will always put out a highly competitive team.