Boys soccer concludes season with supersectional loss

Led by senior captains Sebastian Shultz and Will Travis, ETHS boys soccer had high expectations this season. After winning its regional match on Oct. 19 versus Von Steuben, 4-0, and beating Lane Tech on Oct. 22 in the sectional semifinal, 4-3, the Wildkits narrowly defeated Glenbrook South in a 1-0 overtime victory, taking the sectional. 

Despite having lost conference to Glenbrook North, the Wildkit team was the last team from the Central Suburban League South left in the postseason. 

Prior to Evanston’s supersectional contest against Oak Park-River Forest, Varsity Coach Calixte Franz was hopeful about winning the state championship. 

“Being an ETHS Wildkit, you have a shot every year,” said Franz.

The Wildkit team had hopes on Saturday, Oct. 30 of beating Oak Park, a team that recently upset New Trier, which was seeded to play Evanston in the supersectional. If the Wildkits were to win against Oak Park, they would advance to the elite eight, and inch their way closer to the elusive state championship. However, the Wildkits lost the game 3-0, ending a successful season on a somber note.

Overall, Franz said this year’s team was talented, deep and also senior-heavy, which provided the keys to their successes. 

“We have a lot of seniors, and guys that are older and more experienced work better together, and help establish the team composition we need to win,” explained Franz. 

Some important players to the team were top goal scorer Sebastian Leon, as well as goalkeepers Chance Pape and Henry Sternstein, all three of whom were seniors. Pape and Sternstein alternated at goalkeeper every game as they were both extremely talented players.

“One of the things we struggled with as a team was scoring,” said senior team member John Leibforth. “Next year, hopefully our juniors can work on finishing their chances, so we can secure the win.” 

Leibforth is convinced that the Wildkits were the better team in their match with Oak Park, and that they had more than enough opportunities to win. 

“We just struggled with putting the ball in the back of the net, no matter how many shots we got. Oak Park just capitalized on their chances better than we did,” Leibforth noted.

Despite losing to Oak Park, Evanston still had multiple standout memories to cherish from this season, the biggest one being the fire hydrant. Each year, the winning team of the ETHS versus New Trier soccer game becomes the owner of a fabled fire hydrant in a manner similar to the Stanley Cup—it is the same one each year. With this year’s win against the Trevians, the Wildkits have expanded their all-time lead of the series to 46-44. After bringing the hydrant home, tradition dictates that the winning team’s players paint it and sign their names. This year, as Evanston won, that is exactly what they did.