Boys soccer ends season with shutout loss in regional final

Alexis Rogers, Assistant Sports Editor

While a blowout win against Maine South in the previous round of the IHSA playoffs showed promise for a boys soccer team hoping to go on to repeat as Regional champions, that dream came to an end on Saturday.

The Kits entered the IHSA Regional Final under the lights of Lazier Field against Lane Tech as favorites, but two Lane goals in the first half ultimately proved too much for the Blue and Orange, losing 2-0.

The first goal of the night came on a score by Lane Tech’s Winston Henry 15 minutes into the game, but Evanston bounced back by controlling the run of play for most of the first half. Yet, the Kits (13-6-2) couldn’t finish any possession. Things turned for the worst for Evanston when Lane (14-4-1) scored another goal mere minutes before halftime.

With Lane just needing to simply play strong defense in the second half, ETHS couldn’t make a comeback.

Despite not managing the win, the Kits fought hard, firing shots at Lane keeper Gael Rodriguez throughout the night. A particularly direct attempt by junior Bryan Maldonado in the fourth quarter knocked Rodriguez down and off the field.

Constant energy and fast feet from Maldonado, as well as solid presence from junior defender Benji Koziura, helped keep Lane Tech working. Malonando achieved multiple shots on goal, and Koziura locked down the Kits defense in the second half to prevent a third score.

Play became increasingly aggressive as time waned, with rough contact sending multiple athletes from both teams to the bench. ETHS senior forward Pascal Calonges, following a possession near the Lane Tech’s goal, was one of the casualties, as was Malonando just three minutes from the end of the second half.

The contest ends the Kits’ push to repeat as conference champions. Meanwhile, Lane Tech will play Oak Park on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the state sectional match hosted by Glenbrook South.