Sandburg’s Lance Somerfield is quite busy this fall.
The senior is a standout defender for the Eagles in soccer, and he’s also kicking for the football team. It’s his first experience with football.
“I enjoy it a lot,” Somerfield said. “Even weeks when I’m going three days in a row with games, it’s a lot of fun. It’s my last year at Sandburg, so I want to do a little bit of everything.”
On the soccer field, Somerfield has been a huge part of a fast start for Sandburg.
He continued his contributions Wednesday night, scoring a goal and playing strong defense as the host Eagles topped Shepard 3-1 in Orland Park.
Sandburg got a bit of revenge for a season-ending 1-0 shootout loss to the Astros in last season’s Class 3A regional semifinal.
“I told the boys before the game that there was no way we wanted to go out the way we did last year,” Somerfield said. “I told them that half the team was leaving in tears last year, and that’s the way it should be for the other team (Wednesday).”
With Shepard pushing hard for a tying goal late in the game, Somerfield provided some big insurance when he ripped in a 25-yard free kick to make it 3-1 with 3:35 to go.
“Lance has really stepped up this year,” Sandburg coach Desi Vuillaume said. “He’s been starting three years on varsity, and he just gets better and better. We’re looking for leadership this year and he’s definitely filling those shoes.
“It’s good to see him helping the football team, too. We’ve had quite a few kids do both, and it’s always good.”
For Somerfield, the dual-sport experience started with a simple observation from football coach Troy McAllister.
“He just thought I should go out there and kick the ball, and it’s worked out pretty well,” Somerfield said. “My mom was kind of like, ‘Ehhh,’ about football, but I was like, ‘Let’s get after it.’”
Lyons gave Sandburg the lead in the 33rd minute, scoring on a header after Somerfield’s long free kick deflected off a defender.
Soltysiak answered for Shepard with 25:25 left in the game, scoring off a pass from Filip Zawodniak following a free kick.
The Eagles, though, quickly responded as Burzynski drew a foul in the box and converted the ensuing penalty kick with 20:08 to go.
Somerfield’s goal eventually sank the Astros.
“We knew coming into this it was going to be a tough game,” Shepard coach Zeno Toscas said. “It meant something. A handful of our kids play with their kids. We knew it was going to be one of those good, dynamic games.
“We just came up short. What are you going to do?”
For the Eagles, it was the latest in a line of strong results, including a win over Naperville Central and a tie with Lyons.
“We want to be the best team in our sectional,” Burzynski said. “We saw how important it was last year to be one of those top seeds and we want to be at the top.
“We want to beat Lockport. We want to beat Stagg. We want to beat everyone.”
Somerfield, meanwhile, enjoyed the challenge of defending Soltysiak.
“He’s my teammate in club, so I understand a lot about him,” Somerfield said. “He was all-state last year and he’s really talented. It’s really just man vs. man every time, and it was a battle all night long.”
Steve Millar is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.