Strong second half puts boys soccer back in win column


Photo courtesy of Maya Valentine

Owen Chiss, Assistant Sports Editor

After its undefeated record was snapped Tuesday night with a 2-0 loss to New Trier, Evanston boys soccer’s mission heading into its Thursday night game against Maine South was to get back into the win column.

With things even heading into half on a cool fall night at Lazier Field, the Wildkits put together a strong second-half effort to prevail, with goals by junior forward Bryan Maldonado and senior defender Tyler Alexander ultimately giving the Kits the victory over the Hawks, 2-0.

At the 51-minute mark, Maldonado capitalized on a foul inside Maine South’s penalty box by burying a penalty kick into the bottom left corner of the net. Shortly after, at the 62-minute mark, the Kits (8-1-2, 3-1 CSL) scored again to go up 2-0 on the highlight of the game. Senior captain Sam Darer launched an indirect free kick pass a whopping 50 yards to Maldonado, who laid down a beautiful backward header to Alexander, who tapped in to give the Kits a huge insurance goal over the Hawks (6-4-2, 1-2 CSL).

Maldonado highlighted how the intensity picked up in the second half.

“We started off very slow but continued pushing the ball forwards. After we scored the first [goal], it picked up and we really got going,” said Maldonado.

With the loss on Tuesday to Evanston’s biggest rival, the junior forward emphasized how, while the team was disappointed, players knew they had to turn it around quickly.

“We were upset. We felt like we let the Evanston community down,” Maldonado stated. “But we came in today, bounced back and showed everyone whose house this was.”

A dominant performance by Evanston’s entire defense, combined with a stellar effort in goal by junior Alex Mahoney, was the key to shutting out the visiting Hawks. 

Evanston now sits at second place in the CSL. The Kits’ next game is on Saturday at Lazier Field, against the Dolphins of Whitney Young.