Vying for the title: Glenbrook South squanders chance to control its own destiny

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EVANSTON — It’s been more than three decades since the Glenbrook South boys soccer team last won its conference, according to Titans coach Paul Agombar, and the program has been painfully close to breaking that streak in each of the last two seasons.

Two years ago, Glenbrook South entered its last game of the CSL South campaign needing a tie or a win against Maine South to win the conference title. Agombar’s squad took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but the Hawks scored two goals in the second half to win 2-1.

One year later, the Titans beat New Trier, Evanston and eventual conference champion Waukegan. But they tied Niles West, the sixth-place team in the conference, in their second-to-last CSL South contest. That result, along with a loss to the Hawks, prevented them from finishing in first. 

“It’s a real big issue for us as a program. It’s our No. 1 priority every year,” Agombar said of winning the CSL South. “There are (17) seniors, so they’re not going to be back to have another go next year. This is it. There’s probably five or six guys (where) this is their third year, so the last two years they’ve had disappointment.”

The program’s recent history, combined with Glenbrook South’s thrilling 3-2 victory over the Hawks to begin conference play on Sept. 17, likely made Tuesday night’s 1-1 tie at Evanston (8-1-2 overall, 1-1-1 conference) sting even more.

Senior midfielder Kosta Brkovic converted a penalty kick with 2:53 remaining in the first half. The Titans (7-1-4, 1-0-1) held their one-goal lead for exactly 40 minutes until Evanston junior forward Oli Jacques buried a perfectly-placed cross with 2:53 left in the match.

The Titans left Evanston knowing a chance to control their own destiny had, at least temporarily, slipped away because New Trier is 2-0-0 in league games.

Still, there is a belief among players that this Glenbrook South squad can be the team to break through, senior central defender Michael Hanches said. 

Every game matters in such a competitive conference, which makes Thursday night’s match at Waukegan a virtual must-win for the Titans.

Last year “we were like, ‘Oh, we’re so close. We can definitely do it next year,’ because we thought we have all of our seniors and we’ll be ready,” Hanches said. “It all depends on Waukegan, I guess.”

Pioneer Press will be following the Glenbrook South, Evanston, New Trier and Maine South boys soccer teams all week as they battle for supremacy in the CSL South. Check back in the coming days for reports from games and practices.

Evanston 1, Glenbrook South 1

Maine South 3, Waukegan 0

New Trier 3, Niles West 0

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