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By Brad Spencer
With no Sam Euler protecting the goal, the OPRF soccer team should have been vulnerable to a possible upset by Fenwick at Oak Park Stadium on Friday night. Instead, the Huskies kept their cross-town rivals at bay and came away with a 1-0 victory in front of 1,843 spectators, a record breaking crowd for a soccer game at the stadium.
Ryan Heuttel scored the winning goal for OPRF off an assist by Tom Lamm just over a minute into the game. The win pushed the Huskies' overall record to 11-2-2.
Euler is out with mononucleosis and could miss the remainder of the season. On Friday, Christopher Ingvaldsen filled in for Euler.
Ingvaldsen, a foreign exchange student from Norway, thwarted 10 shots on goal from the Friars.
Fenwick's Jack Alberts suffered a broken leg with 27 minutes left in the second half. The sophomore, who started as a freshman and is one of the Friars' main scoring threats, was transferred by ambulance from the field to a hospital.
"Right now it's a leg injury and we don't know the extent of it, but with just two weeks left in the season, it's obvious Jack will not be back," said Fenwick head coach Robert Watson. "It's a tough loss for us because he's one of our main striker studs. It's a tough thing for him because he's such a great kid as well as an exceptional athlete."
Alberts has already been drawing interest from college recruiters, according to Watson. "He's a tough kid, so I anticipate he'll bounce back from this just fine."
OPRF head coach Paul Wright, who has seen his share of players go down with broken legs this season — two — said his team was shook up by the injury and felt bad for Alberts.
"The next 20 minutes just passed by," he said. "Nobody ever wants to see a kid get her hurt. As much as a game is still a battle, these kids are friends and nobody wants a friend to get hurt."
The Friars, who were coming off a 1-0 win over Mt. Carmel, dropped to 8-6-1 on the season.
"We thought maybe we had an opportunity with Euler being out," said Watson, "but OPRF is very talented. They have a lot of good players and we take our hats off to them. We struggled to find our defensive footing at times."
The Huskies took 17 shots on goal and received a boost from such players as Roman Zwarycz, Mike Bower and Elias El Mentanni, who Wright called "a force to be reckoned with."
OPRF was set to take on three of the top five teams in the state this week with Downers Grove North, Lyons Township and Morton. The Huskies host Morton on Friday at 4:30 p.m.