Not much makes a high school soccer coach happier than when his team shows the ability to score in dead ball situations.
It’s a skill set that’s especially important in big games in the postseason and can make the difference when teams are evenly matched.
So you can conclude that Evanston coach Maurizio Grillo was one satisfied coach after the Wildkit girls extended their season-opening win streak to 4 games with a 3-0 victory at Glenbrook North on Thursday.
Grillo knows the Kits will have to be on top of their game when they face area rival Loyola Academy at noon on Saturday at Lazier Field. The highly-ranked Ramblers are just one of the obstacles ETHS will have to overcome in postseason sectional tournament play, in all likelihood.
That’s when those restarts could loom even larger.
Junior Alex Berkley scored on a direct kick, then picked up an assist on her corner kick to teammate Kira Favakeh. Senior Emily Midyan added her first goal of the season to run the final margin to 3-0.
Berkley, who has one of the strongest kicking legs on the entire squad, also handled many of the restart opportunities last year for ETHS. Her free kick from the right side floated into the upper left corner from about the 25-yard line in the first 5 minutes of the contest, enough to give the visitors a 1-0 halftime advantage.
In the second half, the Kit girls picked up the tempo on offense and overall peppered GBN goalie Callie Williams with 25 shots. She was credited with 15 saves.
At the other end, Evanston chalked up its fourth straight shutout victory as backup keeper Sheridan Cleave made a diving stop of a direct kick by North’s Kylie Sullivan with 6 minutes, 41 seconds remaining to preserve that mark.
“We have worked a lot on those restarts, because we want to be quicker when we take them,” said Grillo. “Shooting from the outside is also something we’ve been working on, but a number of the shots we took were too soft. I attribute that to the (cold and occasionally windy) weather today.
“I wasn’t too happy with our first half performance. GBN was just letting us play with the ball, so in the second half I asked them to take the game to them, and I think it paid off.”
Favakeh’s header off the corner feed from Berkley provided a 2-0 edge in the 44th minute, and Midyan connected just two minutes after she entered the game with Maya Braithwaite picking up the assist.
Source: ETHS Sports Information