Lyons shouldn’t be caught by surprise this season

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Lyons learned last year that plenty of pitfalls lurk during the postseason campaign.

A year ago, 10th-seeded Fenwick upset No. 2 Lyons 2-1 in penalty kicks in the 3A Hinsdale South Regional final. This year, Lyons (14-2-3) is the No. 4 seed in the Hinsdale South Sectional and was scheduled to open the playoffs against No. 13 Argo Tuesday. The Lions beat Argo last week as they entered the playoffs riding a seven-game winning streak.

With such a superlative record, Lyons’ sectional seed seems surprisingly low. But coach Paul Labbato is well aware that the Hinsdale South Sectional is packed with powerhouses. Other teams there include No. 1-seeded Hinsdale Central (18-0-2), No. 2-seeded Morton, the 2011 state champion, and No. 3 Benet.

Lyons hopes to advance to its own regional final at 3 p.m. Saturday against either fifth-seeded Downers South or 12th-seeded Downers North at Lyons’ South campus in Western Springs.

Labbato said the Lions have been warned.

“I talked to them,” Labbato said. “Not only are we looking at this (sectional) as difficult, but those other teams also look at the sectional as impossible.”

The winner of the Lyons Sectional will likely meet Hinsdale Central in the Hinsdale South Sectional semifinal at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Lyons’ last loss was 3-0 to Hinsdale Central on Sept. 28. 

Lyons has been led by senior forward Matt Murphy (19 goals, 11 assists) and senior midfielder Frankie Kocimski (11 goals, 10 assists). Murphy is well past his output of 10 goals last season, which led the team in scoring. 

Labbato has been encouraged by the recent play of junior Harry Hilling, who has turned into a 5-foot-9, 140-pound dynamo at midfield. He has more than eight goals on the season and nearly as many assists.

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