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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

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Izabella Paracuelles, Feature Editor • March 15, 2024
Launched in 2017, the Evanston Mural Arts Program collaborates with talented local artists to create visual art around the city. They have produced close to 30 murals throughout Evanston.
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Four goals in 10 minutes propels girls soccer to third-consecutive shutout

Evanston’s energy out the gate fuels 5-0 win against St. Ignatius, extends winning streak.

Within two minutes of play at Lazier Field on Tuesday night, sophomore Bridget Durkin found the back of the net for the Kits’ first goal against St. Ignatius Prep—and the Kits didn’t stop there. Scores by senior Jocelyn Leigh, senior Jilian Denlow and freshman Alexandra Merriam followed, and in just ten minutes, Evanston was up, 4-0. 

“It was an explosive start,” head coach Stacy Salgado said. “You could feel their energy during their warm-up; when you walked into the locker room, they were hyped, locked in and ready to go.”

After scoring one more for good measure, Evanston cruised to its third-straight shutout victory to open the season, defeating St. Ignatius, 5-0.

From the kickoff, Evanston (3-0) was primed for success against St. Ignatius (1-3). The team worked out an offensive formula quickly, feeding crosses from the far wing to the center to sink shot after shot. A pass from Leigh to a centered Merriam allowed for a feed to Durkin to give the Kits their first score, and a similarly placed play gave Leigh her moment less than two minutes later.

“Ignatius did a great job of changing their defensive strategy,” Salgado said. “But our team figured out what would work. We saw more crosses and outside shots.”

Denlow netted the third goal from the edge of the penalty box with a shot that soared over defenders and keeper alike, and Merriam rounded out the 10-minute frenzy with a quick-footed maneuver following a cross from Durkin.

Communication and coordination proved key for the Kits, allowing the team to run circles around the Wolfpack defense and keep possession for the majority of gameplay. Defensive prowess from Denlow and freshman Maizlyn Kelly kept Evanston on the right side of the field. However, for Salgado, the best defense is a good offense.

“Defense starts from up top,” Salgado said. “We have the initial pressure from Jocelyn [Leigh], Bridget Durkin, Alex [Merriam], and Sydney [Ross]. They’re our first line of defense, locking the other team in and not allowing them to kick forward.”

The team’s fifth and final goal was scored by senior co-captain Ross midway through the second half, as Ross received a cross from Merriam and followed through a deflected shot on St. Ignatius’ keeper. 

Though the Kits earned an overwhelming victory, there are still points for improvement. Evanston generated many shots on goal throughout the night, which were denied as easy saves rather than converted into goals.

“In the final third, we only have a couple chances,” Salgado said. “We had more chances in this game, but we’re not always going to have all those chances. We have to make sure we’re putting away the chances we do have.”

Sophomore Durkin and freshman Merriam have both scored at least one goal in each of the Kits’ first three games this season. The powerhouse underclassmen—combined with the skill of senior co-captains Jocelyn Leigh and Sydney Ross—have proved a formidable offense. 

The team’s next test comes as the Kits take on Highland Park on the Giants’ turf. In 2023, Evanston played a 6-0 season-opening victory against Highland Park. The team looks to continue its winning streak this Thursday, Mar. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

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Alexis Rogers, Sports Feature Editor
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