Even before this girls soccer season, Lyons Township High School junior Brennan Israel and senior Chandlar Lay were a pretty tight-knit pair.
“Chandlar and I, we’re with each other all of the time,” Israel said. “If you see us at school, every single hallway, we’re together.”
Now they’re together even more as the central defenders of another strong defense.
On April 4, they helped the Lions open West Suburban Conference Silver Division action successfully with a 2-0 victory at Downers Grove North.
The Lions are now 7-0 and have yet to yield a goal. They defeated Glenbrook South 3-0 on April 8 and Lake Forest 3-0 on April 10. Last year’s team allowed only seven goals in finishing 20-2 and reaching the sectional finals.
“Our defense has done a really nice job,” LTHS coach Bill Lanspeary said. “They’re just getting more comfortable with each other. And not only our backs, but our midfielders and forwards do a nice job of pressuring and keeping the ball for us, too.”
Also a starting central defender in 2022, Israel is now the veteran of the backline, which has Caroline McKenna, Avery Wengerd, Abby Brown and Jillian Herchenroether on the flanks and new goalies Nora Ezike and Sarah Schinker, who often have been playing one half each.
Another defensive newcomer, Lay played forward in 2022 but suffered a knee injury last fall. She began playing defense last August and approached Lanspeary about switching her position after her return to action in February.
“Honestly, I feel like I like [defense] a lot more. It’s a better fit. I think there’s more communicating on defense,” Lay said.
Izzy Wirtz also has been a solid contributor as the defensive central midfielder. On April 8, she scored twice and Niahm Griffin also tallied. O’Malley had all three assists.
Wirtz, O’Malley and Peyton Israel scored April 10 with two assists from O’Malley and one by Niamh Griffin.
Freshman Carolina Capizzi and Caroline Mortonson scored against Downers Grove North with O’Malley assisting Mortonson.
LTHS boys water polo
Senior Brendan Whelton and his Lyons Township High School boys water polo teammates know strong competition is only going to make them better.
On April 8, the Lions (10-6) reached the title match of their annual invitational but lost to York for the second time this season 14-4.
“It’s a really tough team obviously. We play a tough schedule. We put up a good fight,” said Whelton, one of the few returning starters from last year’s third-place state finisher.
“We lost a lot of guys, a lot of seniors, so we’ve had to really step it up big time this season. It’s kind of a struggle, it’s a difficult task, but we’re overcoming it.”
In pool play, the Lions defeated Lincoln-Way East 15-7, St. Rita 16-8 and Neuqua Valley 12-10.
York, however, scored on it first three possessions of the final. The Lions closed to 3-2 on Whelton goals assisted by Louis Grib and Sami Rabah and trailed 7-3 at halftime, but the Dukes then scored the next seven goals.
The Lions (5-2, 2-1 in West Suburban Silver) lost at Downers Grove North 7-6 on April 10 on a run in the bottom of the seventh inning after tying the game with two runs in the top half.
Sam Viniard (2 for 4, 2 RBIs) hit his third homer of the season and Jack Falls (3 for 4, 3 RBIs), Frederick Ragsdale III (2 for 4) and Troy Stukenberg doubled. The Trojans pulled ahead 6-3 with a five-run fourth.
The Lions again beat Glenbard West 11-2 on April 6. Falls (home run, 4 RBIs), Ragsdale (double), Stukenberg and Viniard each had two hits. Winning pitcher Brady Chambers struck out eight in four innings.
LTHS had a 13-1, five-inning victory over Morton on April 8. James Georgelos was 3 for 3 with two RBIs. Stukenberg (5 RBIs, triple), Ryan Jackson, Patrick Engels and Michael Mango had two hits. Winning pitcher Nate Anderson (6 strikeouts in 4 innings) and Tristan Clark combined on a one-hitter.
Lily Prendergast (.385 batting average, 4 RBIs, triple, double), Tess Meyer (.333, home run, 2 RBIs, double) and Kaitlyn Filkins (.333, double) are top hitters for the Lions (0-4), who have lost to Sandburg 11-1, Mother McAuley 5-1 and Andrew 8-1 and 15-3.