With one incredible leap, he defied physics and broke the collective hearts of New Trier Nation.
Evanston High School goalkeeper Gavin Rosengarten — all 5-foot-6 of him — turned into Stretch Armstrong in the waning seconds of this Class 3A New Trier Sectional semifinal boys soccer game on Oct. 24.
With 20 seconds left on the clock, Rosengarten made the decisive save of the game by leaping high and barely tapping the potential tying goal over the crossbar.
Moments later, following a corner kick attempt, Rosengarten and his teammates celebrated a tension-filled, edge-of-your-seat 3-2 victory.
Not quite as intense as the Houston Astros’ 7-6 extra-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the World Series.
It was a tough ending for the home team.
Headlined by Will Felitto, Ryan Krueger and Logan Weaver, this was, in effect, a Dream Team for New Trier. The second-seeded Trevians ended up 19-4.
“A special group of guys,” said NT head coach Matt Ravenscraft. “Certainly, the best team that I’ve ever been a part of. And I’m incredibly proud of them.”
Evanston (14-4-4), which lost to New Trier 1-0 on Sept. 19, took the upper hand in this game, when the Wildkits went up 3-1 with 24:10 left in the second half on a jaw-dropping goal by Johnny Trujillo.
Trujillo made things impossible for NT goalie Sam Warden, when he trapped the ball in mid-air, turned and rifled in a shot from about 15 yards out.
“But,” said Ravenscraft, “not for one second did I think we were out of it, when we were down 3-1.”
Evanston’s other goals were scored by senior Nate Pollack and sophomore Quinn Ackman — son of Loyola Academy assistant coach Scott Ackman — in the first half.
Felitto, an all-state selection, definitely gave the Trevians some hope, when he took a direct free kick just outside the box and drilled it into the right corner to make it 3-2 with 16:22 left on the scoreboard.
Even Rosengarten had no chance.
The Evanston goalie also had been unable to do anything with Krueger’s shot at the 31:49 mark of the first half. Krueger, who had two hat tricks in the team’s two regional wins, knotted the game at 1-1 by showing some amazing athleticism.
While on a break down the middle — and while backtracking — Krueger hit a one-touch past a diving Rosengarten from 25 yards out. It was Krueger’s 23rd goal of the season.
The Trevians fiercely tried to tie the game. They continually battered shots on goal in the final 13 minutes of the contest but couldn’t connect.
“We had two or three great chances to tie it,” lamented Ravenscraft.
But that guy — Rosengarten — kept getting in the way. He ended up with 10 saves.
And Evanston coach Franz Calixte hardly blinked, when Rosengarten came up with his late-game heroics.
“He’s only 5-6, but he’s got some hops,” said Calixte. “I might not have been as amazed as everyone else, because I’ve seen him do that on a regular basis.”
Evanston, which also eliminated New Trier last season, will face No. 1 seed Glenbrook North in the sectional title game on Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. GBN advanced by topping Leyden 2-0 in the other semifinal game on Oct. 25.