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Evanston’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 decision to Maine South Tuesday night, a loss that will likely prevent the Wildkits from winning the Central Suburban League South division championship this season.

But the Kits’ first defeat of the season doesn’t leave head coach Franz Calixte searching for a panic button. Instead, the veteran coach is searching for answers to end a scoring drought.

ETHS had scored just three goals in its previous three games before being blanked by the Hawks at Lazier Field. Now 7-1-2 on the season, the Kits have been tougher on defense — and not as high octane on offense — as Calixte and his coaching staff figured they’d be coming into the 2016 campaign.

But as Calixte pointed out Tuesday night, there’s a difference between a high school soccer squad that lacks scoring punch — and one that creates numerous opportunities but still can’t find the back of the net.

The fact that ETHS had six corner kicks in a first half they dominated Tuesday — and didn’t even get a shot on goal as a result — pointed to a lack of execution by the hosts on all of those restarts.

“We also had 6 or 7 long throw-ins we counted where we didn’t even get a head on the ball,” Calixte pointed out. “On the corners, it definitely was a lack of execution. But we’re working on it. We’re getting chances,  we’re getting our opportunities, we’re just not putting them away.

“We weren’t outplayed by Maine South (now 11-1-3 overall) tonight. In fact, I thought that was the best we’ve played since our second game of the year. We dominated the first half. I still think we have the guns to score a lot of goals this year. We put a lot of pressure on Maine South and created a lot of opportunities tonight. Now we just have to put them in.”

Maine South’s Alessandro Corazzina netted both goals for the Hawks. He knocked in a rebound in the 11th minute, then added another tally in the 59th minute when he was left unmarked following a Maine South throw-in.

Except for those two scores, the visitors only mustered two other shots on goal but still came away with the victory.

Evanston’s best chance came early in the first half when junior Aidan Tobin, on the second touch from a play that originated with Alex Coronel’s pass into the box, booted a close range shot over the crossbar. About six minutes later, Chris Nkurunziza’s shot also soared too high, and the South defense stopped a shot by Miguel Jimenez after the ensuing corner kick.

Evanston’s difficulties finding the back of the net started when junior forward Colin Thompson, the team’s second leading scorer, was sidelined with a broken wrist. Thompson won’t return to the lineup for at least another two weeks and Calixte insisted after the loss that he isn’t going to rush him back into action.

“We do miss Colin, but we’re not going to rush him back,” Calixte said. “I want us to peak in the postseason and that’s when we’ll need him. The regular season is about pride in your record, and the (state) playoffs are what’s important.

“I’m not disappointed in this loss and there is no reason for us to panic. We’ve played at a high level this year and I know by playoff time that good soccer will prevail. Once these guys start clicking on offense, we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.

Dennis Mahoney

Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for Evanston Township High School.

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