Siblings know all about state competition

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By JOE TROST

A year ago at this time, little did Keegan and Patrick Kilrea realize that the next couple weeks of their lives were going to be a moment in time they would never forget.

The brother-and-sister combo at Lyons helped the boys volleyball and girls soccer teams advance to the Class AA state quarterfinals, both of which took place on the same weekend.

"That entire week leading up to the quarterfinals was pretty incredible for our entire family," said Patrick, who helped his squad earn a fourth-place trophy. "It's something that you'll carry and remember for the rest of your life.

"My entire family is into sports, so that made it even better. It would be great if that happens again this year."

The junior is a 6-foot outside hitter for the Lions, which are the top seed in the Willowbrook Sectional. Lyons is in search of its sixth state berth since 1999.

"Keegan actually helped me a lot when I was first learning the game," Patrick said. "She used to play club volleyball all the time, and I would ask her questions. We really get along great."

When it comes to soccer, it's safe to say it's in the Kilrea bloodline.

Keegan and Patrick's father played soccer at Northern Illinois. Their uncle Tim led the Lincoln-Way girls soccer program to four state berths in 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1994, which places him fourth all-time on the state finals coaching appearance list.

"When I was young, my dad and uncles always helped me," Keegan said. "They still come to my games and offer support, and tell me what I can work on to get better."

The 5-1 sophomore has played a key roll this spring for the Lions, which are in search of their fourth consecutive Class AA state berth.

Since the IHSA split girls soccer into two classes in 2003, New Trier is the only other program besides Lyons to advance Downstate each year.

"When both of us made it Downstate last year it was really exciting," said Keegan, whose team is the No. 1 seed in the Lyons Sectional. "We had family calling the house wondering what was going on, and my parents were pretty excited, too."

Despite playing midfield during the club season and most of last spring, Keegan has moved up top to help provide some additional offensive spark.

"I was playing outside mid, but I like playing forward," Keegan said. "When I'm in the midfield, it seems like I'm always worried about getting back and helping the defense.

"But as a forward, I can be a little bit more creative and do different things. I'm pretty happy there right now, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens."

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