With the sincere intention of generating better team play in both the regular season and the IHSA state playoffs, the Lyons Township High School boys and girls golf teams have officially begun their seasons.
Both teams began practices Aug. 16, and each has taken part in one regular season meet so far. The boys team (1-0 meet record) will next face Downers Grove South High School at home on Aug. 31, while the girls (1-1 meet record) match up against Glenbard West High School on Aug. 30. For both teams, home turf is the La Grange Country Club golf course.
The boys team, coached by Brian Kopecky, collectively finished 6th in state last year, and has hit the ground running so far this season, winning their only meet and taking two second place, and one third place, finishes at recent tournaments.
Senior standout Kevin Workman, who tied individually for 17th at the 2009 state meet, is by no means shy about expressing his goals for the year.
"We all want the state title this year," Workman said. "We've got a solid team that can go far in the playoffs."
The team's strengths stem from its depth and variety of age levels, as several top performers include sophomore Charlie Netzel, junior Kevin Carlson, and senior T.J. Silvey. Carlson and Silvey responded to questions via e-mail.
"Our strength as a team is that we are young and we can shoot low numbers," Carlson said. "Our downfall is that our younger players don't have as much experience."
Still, Silvey believes the youth will help the squad rather than hinder it.
"We lost three members from our state team last year in Tomas Venclovas, Austin Lusson and Kyle Mulcahy, but I think we should be just as strong, if not stronger with the addition of younger guys," Silvey said.
The girls team, coached by Brad Anderson, fell just short in their opening meet versus Oak-Park River Forest High School, but bounced back to comfortably beat Willowbrook High School and is looking to improve on their credentials in order to make it down to state collectively in 2010.
Junior Katie Ellis, a top-70 individual finisher at the state meet, feels the team has what it takes to make the next step towards a group state appearance.
"We're really consistent," Ellis said. "Most teams have one or two girls that shoot really well for them, but we have two, three or four scores that are all very similar. Depth-wise, we have a pretty solid team."
The Lady Lions return senior golfers Lindsay Purpura and Alyssa Lies for the 2010 campaign, while they additionally inherit a skilled youngster in freshman transfer student, Ciara Rattana.
As for weaknesses, Ellis believes the Lions are generally free of any large deficiencies.
"We're young overall," Ellis said. "It isn't necessarily a weakness, but we just don't have as much experience as other teams."
Anderson concurs the team possesses some very positive elements, responding to questions via e-mail.
"We had a goal-setting session and the team decided that they want to place top three at regionals to advance to sectionals," Anderson said. "Individually, we have three or four golfers that could make state as individuals."