Boys soccer looking to capitalize on early season dominance

Facing a midseason lull, the Lions attempt to rebound to finish out the season strong
Junior Asher Sikes winds up to launch the ball during the Lions home win against Shawnee Mission North on Sept. 7th.
Junior Asher Sikes winds up to launch the ball during the Lion’s home win against Shawnee Mission North on Sept. 7th.
Lydia Folks

The Lawrence High boys soccer team has started off with a 6-3 record to start their season.

The team opened the season with a five game win streak but fell 5-2 to Mill Valley and 5-0 to Olathe East for first two losses of the year in succession. The Lions are led by senior team captains Ocean Comfort and Colin Sandefur. Comfort and Sandefur look to build off of and learn from mistakes last season to lead the team to new heights. 

Sophomore Patrick Sandefur sprints for the ball during the September 26th game against Olathe West. (Dylan Wheatman)

Sandefur is ready to take on his senior leadership role by leading the team by example. 

“I’m a senior now, and I feel like once you become a senior it changes,” said Sandefur. “Every single grade below you is now looking up to you and watching what you do.” 

Sandefur and junior Asher Sikes have been focal parts of the offense this year with Sikes logging nine goals and Sandefur scoring twelve goals in the team’s first seven games. This includes a four goal performance by Sandefur to power the Lions to a 8-1 statement win over Seaman.

Comfort mans the midfield along with senior Alden Parker-Timms and junior Josh Lavin. The group hopes to continue to bring high intensity and effort to everything they do. 

“We just need to make sure we are bringing intensity in practice, winning those 50-50 balls in games, going that extra mile just to get the ball back and giving effort all the time,” Comfort said. “That’s what it’s going to come down to in those close games.”

On the defensive side juniors Kaden Valbuena and Garrett Ernzen along with senior Azeez Fatai Atoromola control the backfield. 

“As a defense we have been trying to control when and where the ball is and limit the amount of attacks the opposing team has,” said Ernzen. 

Junior Garrett Ernzen moves the ball up the field during the Lion’s 4-2 win against Shawnee Mission North. (Ellie Goans-Heinz)

The Lions look to take the Sunflower League head on and anticipate many competitive games to come.

“The Sunflower League is the best league in Kansas so we will have a lot of close games,” Ernzen said. “We just need to make sure we work hard and give 100% effort because talent wise we are pretty evenly matched with these teams.” 

The team is working under a new coaching staff this year with girls soccer coach Joe Comparato taking on the role as the boys head coach after last year’s head coach Brandon Daly stepped down.

Comparato has built a new environment for the boys team and pushed them to work together. The team chemistry has been a very important factor for the boys this season. 

He has taught us how to play as a team more and brought more things out of the team this year.” Ernzen said.

The main goal is winning as many games as possible, and we’re on the right track right now. Once we clean up a few things, then we really can reach 8, 9 wins which would be a much better season than we’ve had the past two years.

— Colin Sandefur

The boys team knows it will be important to not get too settled or satisfied and experience a fall like they did last season, starting off 4-0-1 and ending with a 5-11-1 record. Sandefur believes trust will be a huge piece for the team’s future. 

“If we can just keep playing as a team and connecting with each other and having faith with one another, that is really where we will find the most success,” Sandefur said.

The Lions look forward to the rest of the season and are ready for the playoffs. 

“The past two years, we’ve been knocked out of the playoffs after the first round,” Sandefur said. “This year, I think we have a chance at potentially making a run.”

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About the Contributors
Danny Phalen, Co-Editor in Chief
I am a third year reporter and videographer on staff. When I am not doing journalism work I do student council, cross country, video production, and attend school events. As Co-Editor in Chief of the LHS Budget I am excited to manage and create stories that capture the student body and LHS as a whole.
Lydia Folks, Photo Editor
I'm a second year photographer on staff. This year I am taking on the role of photo editor of When I am not taking pictures I am playing softball or participating in 4-H.
Ellie Goans-Heinz, Photographer
I'm a second-year on the journalism staff. When I'm not taking pictures I'm working at Presbyterian Manner, walking my dogs, or going to school events.
Dylan Wheatman, Photographer and Videographer
I'm a second year photographer and videographer on the journalism staff. When I'm not taking pictures or videos I like to go to the gym, hang out with friends and family, and golf for fun!

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