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Boys soccer wins closer-than-expected contest in regional semifinals

Evanston Township High School took down Maine East, 2-0, after blowing them out earlier in the season.
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After boys soccer wrapped up their successful, 15-2-3 season last week, the Kits jumped out to a strong start of the IHSA playoffs with competitive spirit, beating Maine East 2-0 in the regional semifinals at Maine South.

But going into Tuesday night’s game, the Kits were expecting a big win. On Sept. 7, Evanston beat Maine East handily, 10-1. However, the Blue Demons (9-10) showed up in the playoff opener and provided strong competition for the Kits, seeded third in the Evanston sectional.

In the first half, the Kits held back offensively but dominated possession throughout the entirety of the first 40 minutes. The Evanston defense held a strong line, managing to only allow one shot on goal, which was saved by senior keeper Cade Likhite.

“I think all of us, including myself, were thinking this was going to be a test run of a new system we were going to do for playoffs. And then we realized really early that it was not the same Maine East team,” said Evanston head coach Franz Calixte.

In the last two minutes of the first half, junior forward Joseph Sargent capitalized on a mistake made by multiple Maine East defenders and found the back of the net to put the Kits up 1-0. 

“At first, I was feeling nervous. But now, I’m in the right headspace and ready to [truly] dominate,” Sargent said. “But [I also] want to finish all the chances that I get, since there were some more goals I could have scored.” 

“[Sargent] provided a good spark off the bench for us,” Calixte said. “All of our forwards could be starters. We just try to see who’s hot and who we think could provide the best matchup against the defense.” 

The lead gave the Kits the confidence to create more offensive opportunities in the second half. The half began with aggression from both teams. Unfortunately for the Kits, senior center back Jeremy Schoen took a hit to the head and was unable to play for the rest of the game.

“I was concerned about Jeremy because he had just gotten back from a concussion. With concussion protocols, it’s [probably] going to be a couple weeks before he plays again,” Calixte stated. 

Down a center back, the Kits managed to handle the challenge well by embracing an attacking mindset throughout the second half. Off a breakaway, junior forward Cristiano Hamer crossed the ball to junior forward Johnny Hunwick, who landed a header into the top left corner of the net, giving the Kits a 2-0 lead. 

Throughout the rest of the half, Maine East spirits started to deteriorate as Evanston continued to dominate control of the ball and secure a 2-0 victory.

“We were dangerous [today], and we got the shutout. We’re going to keep going one more at a time,” Calixte said. “Our only strategy going into the playoffs is to score more than the opposing team. That’s it.”

Evanston will face Maine South on Sat., Oct. 21 at 11:00 a.m. at Maine South in the regional finals. The Kits tied the Redhawks, 1-1, on Sept. 26.

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About the Contributors
Fiona Vosper
Fiona Vosper, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Fiona Vosper (she/her). I am a sophomore and I mainly write for the sports and opinion sections. I have been writing for The Evanstonian since my freshman year and love contributing to this amazing community of writers. The Evanstonian has strengthened my passion for writing and has also opened my eyes to many different perspectives within Evanston and beyond. Outside of The Evanstonian, I am also a varsity cross-country runner and soccer player. Additionally, I am a facilitator for the EMERGE Initiative club. In my free time, I love to explore bookstores and go on long runs by the beach.
Eva Sondgeroth
Eva Sondgeroth, Assistant Sports Editor
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