Boys soccer: Wheaton North frustrates St. Charles East
Carter Evans is one of Wheaton North's youngest players as a sophomore, but to Falcons coaches, "he doesn't play like it."
"He's made a living this year on turning other team's possessions into 50-50 balls. He's been so great at that. He makes other teams uncomfortable." Wheaton North assistant coach Joe Klingelhoffer said following the Falcons' 2-1 victory over St. Charles East on Tuesday.
Evans' go-ahead goal on a through-ball past Saints keeper Jordan Rolon with 6:26 in the second half was the clincher in a physical, hard-fought victory for the Falcons (9-5-4, 2-3-2).
To Evans, seeing his team's reaction following his tally "showed how much heart our team has."
"It's been a tough season with lots [of times] 'we can't score goals; we can't score goals' but we're starting to get the hang of it," Evans said. "I think we can go far."
The Falcons ultimately prevailed in a chippy contest with a fair amount of contact from both teams.
"We're not the biggest group of guys. You look at us on paper and we're not big at all," Evans continued. "We have the heart to play and be physical. Guys are trying their hardest out there."
The Falcons were missing a key piece, Noah Froebe, who Klingelhoffer said is done for the season with a right knee injury.
"The major difference [tonight] is we like to play with our center back Noah Froebe, who I think is deserving of all accolades you can get as a high school player ... so we had different people step up in different spots," Klingelhoffer said. "We added Kyle Komro to a position; he usually subs in on the outside, [but] we had him in the middle marking [the Saints'] top player [Sebastian Carranza]. He just did a really great job of moving through that space and making sure they couldn't get anything going."
"We could see how dangerous [Carranza] was when he got a little bit of space, but we limited the amount of times that that happened," Klingelhoffer continued.
The Saints (14-4-0, 4-2-0) suffered their second consecutive loss in difficult fashion. Will Orloff put them on the board with just over 20 regulation minutes played in the first half off an assist from Mason Blenner, a lead St. Charles East maintained into halftime.
The Falcons scored the equalizer on a breakaway goal from Robbie Larsen with 21:43 remaining in the second half. The Saints from there were unable to break through against a physical Falcons back line despite a few chances late in the contest.
St. Charles East captain Connor King was unable to connect with Carranza on a free kick touch-pass, which was artfully saved by Falcons keeper Sam Wakeman, who had six on the night, with 15 minutes left in the second half. Philip Anton also had a fruitful chance, but Wakeman again knocked it away with close to two minutes remaining.
"We lacked that ability to find a goal," St. Charles East coach Vince DiNuzzo said. "We had a number of chances; [Wakeman] made a number of good saves. They [The Falcons] had two [second] half chances of scoring. That's how the game goes.
"The first 20 minutes, [We were] communicating and talking. They were all over the place and playing well. I think once we got that goal, it's really the story of our season, we get complacent; we get OK with what's happening. And, we're just fine with 1-0. Then, we get hit on a random counter against the run of play and we kind of crawl into a shell. We just hope that we're going to come out of it. It's one of those [things where] that's a frustrating one."