2-1 victory propels Kits into sectional finals

Peter Barbato and Chris Werner

With a bid to the sectional championship on the line at Lazier Field on Wednesday night, Wildkit attacker Will Weinman was fouled in the box with less than eight minutes left in the game and junior Quinn Ackman put a penalty kick into the back of the net, ultimately ending the postseason hopes for the rival Glenbrook South Titans.

“It was nice to score that goal,” Ackman said. “But all credit for the goal goes to Will. AlI did was make the easy shot.”

In the playoffs, unlike the regular season, no game can end in a tie and after an overtime period, if there is still no winner, the game is decided by penalty kicks. This game didn’t have to get to overtime but was still won on a PK.

“We only started practicing penalty kicks once the regular season ended,” coach Franz Calixte said. “At the end of every practice session we do some PK’s.”

Evanston’s first goal came from junior Frank Berkley, also off of a dead-ball situation. Ackman had a free kick and hit the crossbar with his shot, but Berkley found himself at the right place at the right time to clean up the rebound. It was Berkley’s first goal of the season.

“It felt great,” Berkley said. “We knew that it was going to be a close game going in. I’m just happy our team was able to get the big win and advance to the game on Saturday.”

After coming out of the gate sluggish and failing to score in the first half, Evanston found a boost at halftime and played much better for the rest of the contest.

“The coaches had a really good talk with us at halftime,” Ackman said. “It gave us the energy we needed to bounce back after a bad first half.”

Evanston’s defense kept them in the game for much of the first half and the goal GBS scored was only the first goal the Kit’s defense has allowed in the past five games.

“The defense is peaking at the right time,” Calixte said. “At the beginning of the year we were getting up week goals consistently and they’ve put the clamp down now.”

On Saturday, the No. 3 seeded Wildkits will square off with the No. 4 seeded St. Patrick Shamrocks who upset top seeded New Trier on Tuesday night.

“They matched up perfectly with New Trier and I think we’ll match up well against them,” Calixte said.

Hosting the sectional tournament has been a big advantage for ETHS and it will be no different on Saturday night.

“It’s always nice playing at home,” Berkley said. “Especially when we have great fan support, that extra energy really helps the team.”

The winner of Saturday’s game will head to the Barrington super-sectional for a chance to go to the final four.