Evanston’s offense is so high octane that even long-time soccer head coach Franz Calixte sometimes loses track of just who’s scored how many goals in the heat of the competition.
That’s what led to Colin Thompson’s first career hat trick in an ETHS uniform Saturday afternoon at Lazier Field.
Thompson contributed 3 goals and 1 assist as the Wildkits concluded play in the Evanston Invitational tournament with a 5-1 whipping of Payton Prep. ETHS, now 4-1 overall, earned the tournament title in the round-robin affair for the sixth straight year.
Thompson scored on a penalty kick in the 31st minute, added another score after steal by teammate Miguel Jimenez set him up in the 50th minute, and completed his hat trick with only 11.7 seconds remaining in the lopsided contest.
“I didn’t realize Colin already had two goals,” admitted Calixte after his squad outscored the tourney competition 12-1. “That’s why he was still in the game, because he deserved another opportunity to score.
“He’s definitely been our most dangerous player this year. He’s playing the same way he did for us last year, only now he’s more confident and more consistent about playing at a higher level. That extra year on the varsity can bring huge growth for some people, and I think that’s what’s happening with Colin.
“With due respect to the teams we play in this tournament, they aren’t the toughest teams on our schedule. But everyone got a chance to play good minutes this week and it’s an opportunity for everyone to play and see how our system works. We’re still working on our rotation, and the important thing is not winning this tournament. I just want to be peaking at the right time.”
“When you score that many goals in three games, that’s really good for the team morale,” Thompson pointed out. “This tournament is a great way for us to start the season. You wouldn’t want to play someone like New Trier this early. We scored 5 goals today and we probably could have scored 5 more, because we had a lot of opportunities.
“Last year we had a bunch of junior forwards and now we’re definitely ready for this level because we all have more experience. This is a good start to the season, and we want to build as a team and prove how good we really are. If we finish our chances, we can score 8 to 10 goals a game.”
Evanston’s explosiveness netted two goals in a 65-second span in the second half to break a 1-1 deadlock. A deflection by Chloise Nkurunziza — following “hockey assists” from first Alex Coronel and then Jimenez — staked the Kits to a 1-0 advantage before the Grizzlies answered on a line drive shot by Tomer Tur-Kaspa that found the top of the net, inches over ETHS goalie Gavin Rosengarten.
Unfazed, Evanston countered quickly. Thompson slipped a pass through two defenders to Nathan Pollack, who buried the shot with 11:44 left in the first half.
Then, Pollack’s hustle on the offensive end led to a hand ball violation by the visitors and Thompson connected on the subsequent penalty kick to make it 3-1.
The hosts continued to attack in the second half and converted when Jimenez stole the ball from a Payton fullback, setting up an easy score for classmate Thompson.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.