Spiros Kass made his own momentum. It proved lasting.
When the junior Lyons forward elevated and smashed a header clean into the back of the net in the 23rd minute, the No. 3 Lions used it as the catalyst for their 6-0 trouncing of host Hinsdale South in the regional semifinals of the Class 3A state soccer tournament Tuesday in Darien.
The game was played under a ferocious northern winds of about 30 mph. It played havoc with the ball, turning each pass into an adventure.
“In the first half, the ball just flew into the wind,” Lyons’ senior defensive star and corner specialist Ben Larson said.
Working from a superbly played corner from Larson, Kass scored into the teeth of the wind, a symbol of the Lions’ dominance.
“The goal was very important because of the wind,” Kass said. “They took the wind in the first half with the idea that they’d get one or two early goals and then play defense in the second half.
“Because we got the first goal it put them on the defensive.”
As is their custom, the Lions dominated with their set pieces. Junior forward Frankie Kocimski set up the second score with a long throw-in that senior forward Jack Thomas headed in the 52nd minute. That unleashed the Lions, who scored three goals in an eight-minute burst that turned the game into the rout.
“Sometimes with the throw-ins, it’s just a adrenaline taking over, I pick it up and throw it,” Kocimski said. “All I do is throw it into the others and the ones battling in the box are the ones doing the work. Fortunately Jack was able to make a play on it.”
Larson recorded a second assist on junior defender Joe Lupano’s score, also from a corner. Moments later, Larson blasted a ball toward the net, watched it ricochet back to him, where he brilliantly curved the ball inside the near post for the game’s fourth goal.
“I was able to do something with the wind,” he said.
Junior forward Matt Murphy scored in the 74th minute.
Sophomore defender Lucas Carlson had the best scoring opportunity for the Hornets (5-15-1) in the first half, his rocket free kick catching lift from the wind that junior Lions’ keeper Peter Nolan made a superb stab.
Lyons (18-3-1) advances to meet Fenwick in Saturday’s regional final.