By Brad Spencer
The Pepsi Showdown isn't just a prestigious soccer tournament where numerous high school teams pick up a few wins or suffer a few losses. It's a place where coaches can gauge their team's play and tweak things as the final stretch of the regular season approaches.
For the OPRF and Fenwick girls soccer teams work still needs to be done, but not much.
The Huskies opened the tournament with a disappointing 5-1 loss to Wheaton South, but quickly recovered, grabbing a 1-0 win over Oswego, knotting a 0-0 tie with St. Ignatius and thumping Plainfield Central 4-0 in the final round.
Tess Trinka's play led to both victories. Trinka scored the game winner against Oswego off an assist from Olivia O'Sullivan with 28 seconds left in the game. She led the Huskies with two goals in the win over Plainfield Central, while Alicia Gerin and Ruby Gonzalez each added one apiece.
Elise Dellegrazie earned all three shutouts in goal for the Huskies.
"Being part of the Pepsi Tournament exposes us to great competition over a two- week span," said OPRF head coach Ignacio Ponce. "We had the opportunity to play and watch top quality teams in Illinois. I think the girls benefit from the experience because they have to be both mentally and physical ready for such a large event. I am pleased that we continue in a positive direction."
OPRF now enters the second half of the season with an 8-3-1 overall record. The Huskies travel to Downers Grove North on Saturday (10 a.m.).
As for the Friars, the Pepsi Tournament is where they suffered their first two losses of the season, which will for sure be motivation for the next month of play. Fenwick lost to Glenbrook South 2-1 and Lake Zurich 3-2. The team closed out the tournament by tying Wheaton South 1-1 on a goal by Colette Jaslowski.
The Friars now jump back into East Suburban Catholic Conference league play where they're currently 2-0. The team kicked off last week by blanking Providence 4-0. Bridget Hillsman, Jackie Mannion, Maddie Stupinski and Carline Murphy all scored in that win, while Jesse Cwik recorded the shutout in goal.
Fenwick (9-2-2) hosts Marion Catholic on April 17 (4:30 p.m.) and Carmel on April 20 (Noon) at the Dominican Priory in River Forest.