It's hard to move forward when you're looking backwards, but nobody expects that to be a problem for the Lyons Township girls' golf team.
The Lions racked up the accomplishments last year, winning the Suburban Prairie Conference, finishing second in regionals and winning sectionals, all before capturing third place at the IHSA State tournament.
Even though LT returns five of six regulars from last year, first-year head coach Brad Anderson is making sure his veteran team knows those achievements don't guarantee a successful '05 campaign.
"It's something we talk about in practice," Anderson said. "We may have trophies, but those trophies have a date on them. That's because they're like milk in that they have a shelf life. It's good for a while, but then you have to be ready to go again. It's a new year, and we have to take care of business."
Anderson, who inherits the head job after nine years as a junior varsity coach, doesn't think that attitude will be any problem for his experienced group.
Senior Allie Marconi returns after shooting a 168 at State last year to finish 24th overall in individual scores. Senior Alyssa Gaudio and junior Heather Grant both carded a 176 for the two-day tournament last year. That trio will be the three main cogs of the Lions' lineup, and right now is shooting consistently in the high 30s over nine holes.
Brittany Anselmo and Amanda Paul also return, while senior Erin Trompeter, junior Caileen Coleman and sophomore Olivia Pasquenelli are likely to complete the varsity eight.
Coleman has varsity experience, playing as a freshman for LT two years ago. However, she missed last season after being diagnosed with cancer. She has since fought her way back to the golf course, and this season will ride in a golf cart approved by the IHSA.
Anderson knows all of his golfers are talented, and with the internal competition from the JV ranks, this team will find consistency in all four of its scoring spots.
"This is going to be one of the most competitive years we've had within this team, and that's good because you're always looking for great scores from that fourth spot," he said. "That's what separates the top teams from everyone else."
The Lions will get their first big test of the season Thursday at the Barrington Invite. They'll see a lot of the top teams from the northwest suburbs. They'll also have a tough conference to look forward to. Intra-conference foe Hinsdale Central is the school that beat out LT for the top spot at last year's regional.
With the talent already their, Anderson's focus will be to make sure his team is mentally prepared for the greens. The coach points to the fact that last year at State, LT finished only eight strokes in front of fourth-place New Trier. While that gap is surely small, the Lions can only afford to concentrate on their own game.
"That's where we're focusing on so we can win those mental battles," Anderson said. "You can't let things affect you, especially since golf is the kind of sport where you don't face your opponent head-to-head. You just have to go out and play as best you can and let the chips fall where they may. Our goal is to come out and do that on a consistent basis. We'll be happy with that."
Thurs., Aug, 18 at Barrington Invite, 8 a.m.
Sat., Aug. 20 at Joliet Invite, 11 a.m.
Mon., Aug. 22 at York Invite, 9 a.m.
Tues., Aug. 23 vs. Stagg, 3:45 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 30 vs. Hinsdale South, 4 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 6 at Willowbrook, TBA
Wed., Sept. 7 vs. York, TBA
Mon., Sept. 12 vs. Downers South, 4 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 14 at Hinsdale Central, TBA
Thurs., Sept. 15 at Napervile N. and Central, 3:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 17 at Providence Invite, TBA
Mon., vs. Downers North, 4 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 21 at Addison Trail, TBA
Sat., Sept. 24 at Sandburg Invite, 9 a.m.
Tues., Sept. 27 at WSC Meet., 8 a.m.
LT Boys Golf Schedule
Fri., Aug., 19 at Larkin Invite, 7:30 a.m.
Tues., Aug. 23 at Hinsdale South, 3:45 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 29 vs. OPRF, TBA
Wed., Aug. 31 vs. Willowbrook, 3:45 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 1 at Hinsdale Central, TBA
Sat., Sept. 3 at Fenton Invite, 6:15 a.m.
Tues., Sept. 6 vs. Proviso West, TBA
Sat., Sept. 10 at Batavia Invite, 8 a.m.
Sat., Sept. 10 at Providence, 6:30 a.m.
Tues., Sept. 13 at York, TBA
Thurs., Sept. 15 vs. Glenbard West, TBA
Sat., Sept. 17 at Plainfield Invite, 9 a.m.
Mon., Sept. 19 at Morton, 3:45 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 20 at Downers North, TBA
Sat., Sept. 24 LT tourney, TBA
Tues., Sept. 27 at WSC Meet, 8 a.m.
Thurs., at Lockport, 4 p.m.
Sat., at Lake Park, 8:30 a.m.