It may take until Tuesday for the members of the Evanston soccer squad to dry out.
Doesn’t matter because their season is still alive.
Showing remarkable focus with their play in a drenching rain, the Wildkits dominated Prospect and scored a 4-0 victory in the Class 3A regional tournament championship game at Lazier Field Saturday night.
The Wildkits captured their 8th straight regional crown, improved to 17-1-2 on the season, and will get a chance to avenge their only loss of the season at the Glenbrook South Sectional with a semifinal date against arch-rival New Trier at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Glenbrook North will play in the other sectional semifinal at 4 p.m., against either Saint Patrick or Maine South.
Monsoon-like conditions that engulfed Lazier Field didn’t slow the third-seeded Wildkits down. In fact, the winners seemed to embrace the 40-degree cold with a northerly wind on their way to a wet and wild win.
Senior Matthew Webley scored the only goal in the first half, and the Kits added 3 more goals — by Martin Torres-Moreno, Julian Granzetto and Charlie Fies — in the second half to go with a strong defensive performance on a night where one slip could have let a goal in.
On a squad with so many (18) seniors on the roster, ETHS head coach Franz Calixte couldn’t be blamed for expecting the kind of focus necessary in a one loss-and-you’re-done scenario in postseason play.
But he couldn’t have expected one of the team’s best games of the season, and near-flawless execution and team play.
“They stuck to the game plan tonight,” Calixte praised. “I don’t know if it was our best game, but what it did demonstrate is that we’re peaking at the right time.
“With the elements like this, we kept our composure and wore Prospect down in the second half. We hit our next gear in that second half, and they played and worked right through the weather. I loved it!”
Webley slipped behind the Knights’ defense and accepted a pass from Dylan Taglang in the 36th minute after the hosts had difficulty putting shots on the goal frame in the first 15 minutes.
Freshman Torres-Moreno scored his team-high 15th goal — matching the mark for a first-year varsity player set by Troy Nightingale — by converting a pass from just 4 minutes into the second half to effectively put the game out of reach.
Evanston’s defense, meanwhile, turned Prospect standout Eryk Limanowka into a non-factor.
“We said before the game that we had to be aware of No. 8 (Limanowka) at all times, and I don’t think he got more than 4 touches in the whole game,” noted Calixte. “I like what I see from our defense, they did an outstanding job.”