Senior center midfielder Haris Sarajlija’s quest to be a leading scorer for the Lyons Township High School boys soccer team this season meant busy feet the entire summer.
His teammates can attest to that.
“Every morning I tried to get them out on the field,” Sarajlija said. “I took hundreds upon hundreds of shots this summer. (Senior goalies Seth Ahlm and Tyler Balon) took turns. I was out more on the field with Seth Ahlm. (Junior wing) Mason Burda was shooting out there, too.
“After every training morning that we did, I probably took another 10 to 15 minutes shooting free kicks, all different types of angles, working on technique as much as possible.”
Sarajlija already has equaled his 2022 output with a team-best seven goals, including a couple of key ones.
His latest beauty was a 28-yard free kick with just more than two minutes left to secure a 1-1 tie with undefeated Morton Saturday in the Morton Tournament.
The Lions (7-3-2) are 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
“To be honest, I didn’t know how late it was in the game,” Sarajlija said. “We were just trying to score. The last 10, 15 minutes, we were all trying to attack and put some more guys forward.”
This was the second free kick goal of the season for Sarajlija, who in 2022 split time on restarts with graduated Patrick Kracker and left-foot dominant Ben Swicionis, depending on where the ball was.
“It was pretty far out (Saturday) but I tried those free kicks a lot over the summer because I wanted to be on set plays a lot,” Sarajlija said. “It was set perfectly to hit the far post because the goalie was in the middle. I knew where I was scoring those in practice. I went for it and scored at the right time, right when we needed it.”
The Lions bounced back from a 1-0 loss to Benet Friday in the Morton Tournament. They were scheduled to play the BodyArmor Tournament final against Taft at home Sunday but heavy rains forced the entire final round to be moved to this Sunday.
The Lions also have Senior Night Friday against Curie and the Sept. 26 home Silver Brick showdown with rival Hinsdale Central.
LTHS is 2-0 in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division after beating Downers Grove North 2-1 Sept. 12. Sarajlija had a goal and assisted Declan Kracker’s goal.
Sarajlija is perhaps most excited about his opening goal in the 3-0 victory at Glenbard West Sept. 5 in the Silver opener. At the time, the Lions were 2-2-1 and winless in their previous three outings.
“After those two losses, I think something hit us and we’ve been playing fairly well since then. In the beginning, it was harder for everyone to have their own initial fight,” Sarajlija said.
“(Glenbard West) was a game we really needed. Scored in the first 10, 15 minutes. It was a really good goal and upped our energy. That win over Glenbard West changed a lot of everyone’s attitudes moving forward.”