Stevenson's boys soccer team rose to the level of the competition in their battle against visiting Evanston on Thursday afternoon.
Most of the way, that is. Evanston scored 2 late goals taking a 3-1 decision over Stevenson in a nonconference match at the Vernon Hills Athletic Center in Vernon Hills.
"I thought we played well against Evanston," Stevenson coach Mark Schartner said. "It bodes well that we got that many chances -- hitting the post in the first half, and a bar in the second half. It really was a good effort."
The Patriots (9-6-3) had chances to take the lead against the Wildkits (15-1-4) after tying the game midway through the second half.
Matt Brickman scored in the 63rd minute after getting an end-line pass from Jake Nunez.
"(Evanston) was the best possession team we faced all season," said Brickman, who scored his second goal of the season. "I had a good connection with Jake (Nunez). I knew that he would take the ball to the end line. I just dropped off and nobody was on me and able to tap it in."
The Wildkits took over the lead 2-1 four minutes later, when Miguel Jimenez scored his second of the match by scoring on Joshua Klier throw-in.
Stevenson had a couple of point-blank chances to tie the game a minute apart around the 75th minute. Both were saved by Evanston goalkeeper Gavin Rosengarten (6 saves).
Evanston's Collin Thompson added an insurance goal in the final minute.
"We saw Stevenson had lost some games early on in the season, but the last few games they've played well," Evanston coach Franz Calixte said. "This is a strong team. This is great for the playoffs. (Stevenson) was strong, fast -- and the kids that aren't as strong are tough as nails. You have to earn a victory against Stevenson."