By Marty Farmer
Oak Park and River Forest High School girls soccer coach Ignacio Ponce believes his team can win the West Suburban Conference Silver Division title this season. That's a pretty ambitious goal, considering last year's Class 3A state runner-up Hinsdale Central and perennial power Lyons Township, among many talented teams, reside in the same league as the Huskies. With all due respect to the considerable competition, however, Ponce and the Huskies, who finished 11-7-2 last season, remain undaunted.
"Our goals are to win conference and make it as far as we can in the state playoffs," Ponce said. "Conference is always hard. Hinsdale [Central] is the team to beat and we can't forget about our friends at LT. Our players worked hard throughout their years at OPRF and want to win."
Senior defender Wren Osler anchors the backfield. She's a very quick and physical player who surveys the field well. Meredith Blatner is a returning starter/center midfielder who is very good defensively and also attacks well on and off the ball. Senior center midfielder Lauren Wilkes possesses great touch on the ball. She's also an excellent distributor for the team's forwards.
Speaking of forwards, the Huskies' best is senior Tess Trinka, who led OPRF in goals last year — and also teamed up with Taylor Arends to finish second in the state at No. 1 doubles tennis during the state finals last fall. Senior outside midfielder Ruby Gonzalez is another explosive scoring threat ready to complement the high-scoring, athletic Trinka.
"Ruby has lightning speed on the wing and creates opportunities to score," Ponce said. "She is a workhorse and challenges every ball that comes her way."
Adding depth to the roster, newcomers like senior center midfielder Kaitlin Price and freshman forward Ashley Gerin have already made an impact.
OPRF is off to a 1-1-1 start this spring. The Huskies routed visiting Riverside-Brookfield 7-1 last week in their home opener. Gerin scored three goals against the Bulldogs while teammates Erin Schrobilgen, Brigid Freed, Julia Weiss and Trinka added a goal apiece.