Team Off To Impressive Start
By Aaron Brown
IL -- 8-0 record. Outscoring opponents
127-21. Recent wins over #4 Mother McAuley, #13 Stevenson, #16 Waubonsie
Valley, and #21 Wheeling.
Looking at those numbers and results, it is fair to say
that the pieces are in place for the Lyons Township girlsí water polo team
to make a strong push towards qualifying for the state tournament for the
second straight season even after losing four important seniors from last
Why have they gotten off to such a strong start? Head
coach Lynn Castroís squad have several important pieces that come together
to form what some might call an ideal team. The Lions have a mix of senior
leadership, a pair of impressive sophomores, and a junior goaltender who
has fit perfectly into the starting lineup. They boast several tough,
defensive-minded players on one end of the pool combined with a
well-balanced offensive attack where any starter can lead the team in
scoring in any given game. They also have a solid overall lineup with
seven starters who would all likely start for any team in the state, plus
a strong enough bench to fill in any gaps during big-game situations.
It all starts with seniors Allie Grimes and Katelyn
Jacobs. Grimes, the teamís leading scorer during last seasonís
state-qualifying run, has picked up right where she left off and is
especially dangerous with so many other offensive options available around
her. Opposing defenses cannot simply focus on shutting her down, leading
to performances like Saturdayís tournament game against Stevenson, where
she recorded 6 goals and 3 assists. She also recorded 7 goals in a win
over York and averages over 3 goals scored per game.
On the other end of the pool is Jacobs, a solid
defender who also serves as the starting point for much of the LT offense.
She led the team in assists last year by an overwhelming margin, but
should also see an increased scoring role this season as well. While she
did total 6 assists (plus 2 goals) in the teamís win over Stevenson on
Saturday, she led the team with 3 scores in a 10-4 victory over Waubonsie
Valley and also tallied 3 goals in a 15-6 triumph over Wheeling. Most
recently, she helped lift the Lions to their 14-4 win over McAuley by
totaling 4 goals and drawing three ejections against a normally tough
The senior experience of Grimes and Jacobs is balanced
by the talented sophomore duo of Kirby Kaptur and Lizzy Kosin, both of
whom gained a large amount of immediate varsity experience as freshmen in
2009. Kaptur was the teamís second leading scorer last year, highlighted
most recently by the fact that she totaled 7 goals in three games as Lyons
won their own tournament. In the fourth week of the season, she limited
McAuley star Yuri Chavez to just one shot and no goals in LT's eighth
victory, while recording 3 goals herself on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, Kosin has provided an offensive spark for
Lions this season. She scored 3 times in the win over McAuley, added 4
goals in victories over Stevenson and Wheeling, and provided 3 scores in
an early-season win over Hinsdale Central.
One of the biggest question marks entering the 2010
season was replacing goaltender Emily Bornhoff, who allowed less than 5
goals per game last season. Junior goalie Grace Trilla has more than
answered those questions thus far, as she has allowed less than 3 goals
per game, recorded a shutout in a win over Hinsdale South, and played a
key role in limiting McAuley to just four goals while also recording
three assists that sparked the LT counterattack.
Lyons can also rely on their depth, both in the
starting lineup and on the bench. Seniors Adrianna Hoak and Erika Ronning
have been solid contributors thus far, as Hoak tallied 2 goals in the win
over McAuley and has 14 goals this season, while Ronning totaled 8 scores
in the three weekend wins.
Juniors Madelon Craig and Katie Calvert have been big
contributors thus far as well. Craig scored 4 goals in an early-season win
over Oak Park and Calvert scored 2 key goals in the recent victory over
McAuley. Freshman Blair Hopwood has also been a welcome addition, as she
has scored in four different games, while sophomore Carrie Nacht scored 2
times in the win over Hinsdale South and could play valuable minutes for
the Lions this season.
At this point in the season, Lyons remains in small
group of undefeated teams that includes St Ignatius, Naperville Central,
and Fremd. Only time will tell if they can be the team that emerges from
that group in order to challenge for a state title in 2010.