Lyons senior Cole Gilchrist figured that after watching last year’s seniors work their magic, this would be his season.
After scoring three goals and contributing five assists as a junior, Gilchrist has a team-high 15 goals and 13 assists.
“I had a lot of really good players in front of me last year,” Gilchrist said. “This was my chance to prove myself. I learned a lot from [the seniors last year]. Our captain Matt Murphy scored a ton of goals and was a big help. I was ready to step up and take on the [scoring] role.”
Lyons coach Paul Labbato said Gilchrist’s emergence as a dangerous scoring weapon is all about conviction.
“Cole’s biggest change between junior and senior year is his confidence,” Labbato said. “Cole believes he will make differences in each match and really has come through for us. He has tremendous speed to get behind the defense, plus the ability to pick out corners of the goal when he is being pressured.”
Gilchrist’s biggest goal of the season came Friday.
Lyons (21-5), the No. 3 seed in the Lyons Sectional, rallied to beat No. 6 Kelly 2-1 in the Reavis Regional final Friday in Burbank to earn a shot at No. 2 Hinsdale Central.
Daniel Gutierrez headed in a pass from Harry Hilling 12 minutes into the second half to even the score and Gilchrist scored the game-winner with eight minutes left in regulation off another assist from Hilling.
“It was probably the most significant goal I’ve scored,” Gilchrist said. “The team fought hard to come back and it was an awesome feeling.”
Hilling and Gilchrist began playing soccer together at age 10. Hilling said have a teammate with speed can put pressure on opposing defenses.
“He’s a jokester, but at the same time, when it comes down to games, he’s completely focused and knows what we need to get done,” Hilling said. “He brings an offensive threat for us with his speed and nose for the goal. It’s good to have a fast forward I can distribute the ball to.”
Gilchrist is in his third varsity season and also plays for the Windy City Pride. He’s always considered his speed as his biggest asset.
“Whenever I lacked a skill I would try to use my speed to make up for it,” Gilchrist said. “It’s really useful, especially playing wide left or right, it helps me get past the defenders quickly.”