The Lyons Township High School boys soccer team is off to a fast start this season, and the Lions per usual have their eyes set on winning a state championship. A perennial state contender, the Lions won their first and only state championship in 2009.

LT (2-0-2) returns 15 players from last season’s 18-4 squad which was upset by Fenwick in a penalty kick shootout during the state playoffs last season. Among the top returning players is senior forward/midfielder Frankie Kocimski, who enters his third campaign with the varsity.

“I’m really excited,” said Kocimski. “I’m looking forward to ending my high school career on a good note. Our main goal is to win state this year. The past couple of seasons we’ve been very successful, but we’ve fallen short of that main goal of winning state. This year I think we’re really focused, and we’re ready to get at it.”

Senior forward Matt Murphy is back for the Lions as well, along with superb sophomore forward Christian Sanchez. The Lions also have a great home crowd supporting them 16 games this season, and Murphy believes LT is capable of running the table on home soil.

“I just want to make sure we to try to win every game,” Murphy said. “We really want to go undefeated at home. Personally, I just want to get the ball in the back of the net every game, whether it’s on a goal or an assist.”

The Lions put up an impressive tie against nationally-ranked St. Charles East (Sept. 4), in which they scored two goals in the second half to erase a 2-0 deficit. Sanchez knows how important that second half comeback was against the number one team in the state.

“We’re starting off strong,” Sanchez said. “It was great coming back from being down 2-0 in that game. We have that mentality to grind, and we defend really well.”

With all their returning talent, particularly on defense, the Lions feel one of the keys to winning the rugged West Suburban (Silver) Conference will be figuring out simply how to properly utilize their abundance of ability. Obviously, that’s a nice problem for any team to have.

“A lot of it starts in the back,” Murphy said. “We’re still getting settled in back there. We have a lot of returning defenders and a lot of talent. It’s just about figuring out who goes to the right place.”

With lofty but attainable goals of capturing conference and state championships in mind, Murphy points to the Lions’ inspired performance against St. Charles East as a great sign of future success this season.

“That second half against St. Charles East was great,” Murphy said. “If we could play like that every game, we’re going to have a great season.”