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FEATURE ARTICLE

 

Lyons Girls Team Off To Impressive Start

By Aaron Brown

 

PLAINFIELD, 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 yearís team.

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 defense.

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.

 

 

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