The constant pressure applied by Evanston’s soccer team didn’t really even produce a shot on goal in the second half.
But that pressure forced a lucky break for the Wildkits, who used a penalty kick by Dylan TerMolen to earn a 1-1 tie with arch-rival New Trier Thursday night in Northfield.
That offensive pressure resulted in a clear hand ball violation in the box by New Trier’s Riles Walsh, and TerMolen buried the subsequent PK chance in the lower right corner past 6-foot-5 Trevian goalie Sam Rutherford.
It marked the second straight year the Wildkits, now 10-1-3 overall, have converted a penalty kick versus Rutherford. Erick Balthazar turned the trick last year in a 1-0 ETHS triumph.
“We can possess the ball with the best of teams, but today we only had 2 or 3 shots on goal. We know that at some point we have to be more dangerous than that,” said Evanston coach Franz Calixte. “We talked about that at halftime and we turned up our intensity in the second half.
“New Trier capitalized on a bad call (resulting in a free kick and a goal by the Trevians’ Louis Shaw) early on and whenever something like that happens, you can either mope or keep playing through it. We didn’t make excuses, we just kept playing, and we got a goal. This was a fair result .”
Evanston was stuck in an unfamiliar spoiler role as both New Trier and Maine South entered the night with unbeaten conference records. Evanston finished 2-1-2 but will settle for a 3rd place finish in Central Suburban League South division play.
But the intensity of the rivalry never wavered in a championship-type atmosphere. The Wildkits still lead the all-time series with 41 wins to 39 for the Trevians. Thursday’s outcome marked the 22nd overall tie between the two programs.
“When we got down 1-0 early (in the 15th minute) it scared me a little,” admitted TerMolen. “But we’ve been behind a couple of other times this year and everyone believed we could still do it. We did get a little lucky, but I thought we deserved it because of all the chances we had. It was a game that could have gone either way.”
TerMolen scored his 5th goal of the season with 22 minutes, 47 seconds elapsed in the second half. The visitors had a half dozen restart chances after that, but couldn’t find the net for a go-ahead goal.
Goalie Gavin Rosengarten chalked up 8 saves and junior forward Tyler Tomasello gave the Kits a lift off the bench with his energetic performance. Senior defender Wes Harrell also stood out, helping ETHS match New Trier (7-5-4 overall) head ball for head ball in a fiercely fought contest.
“I thought Wes played his best game of the season,” Calixte praised. “Winning all of those head balls like he did, he really played like a man tonight.”
Evanston was voted the No. 3 seed in balloting by the coaches involved in the 18-team Class 3A Maine East Sectional tournament grouping, behind only Glenbrook North and Maine South. Lane Tech and Leyden were tabbed the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.