By Marty Farmer
Whenever a team wins nine games in a row to open the season, that kind of success draws attention. Two-time defending state champion Glenbard West and highly regarded Brother Rice certainly took notice of the OPRF boys volleyball team's auspicious run.
The Hilltoppers defeated OPRF 25-14, 25-22, and the Crusaders wore down the Huskies 25-16, 20-25, 25-13 in a pair of marquee matchups last week.
Against Glenbard West, the Huskies' Mike Saleh had a game-high five kills and setter Ben Hancock finished with four kills and 14 assists. Junior middle hitters Jack Valenti and Ben Shinners and junior outside hitter Evan Beebe added three kills apiece.
Valenti had six kills, two blocks and an ace against Brother Rice.
Through 10 games this season, Hancock had 192 assists, 21 kills, 12 aces and 14 digs. Valenti led the Huskies in kills with 52, followed by Beebe (47) and Kyle Rasmussen and Saleh (38 each). Valenti and Hancock are the team's best blockers.
OPRF (9-2, 1-1 West Suburban Silver), which has road matches at Hinsdale Central and the Downers Grove South Invite this week, returns home Wednesday, April 26 for a 5:30 p.m. match against Whitney Young.
OPRF girls track & field
Powered by strong performances from Rachel Rowe and Ella Rossa, OPRF won Hinsdale Central's Devilette Invitational on Saturday. The Huskies scored 125 points to edge host Hinsdale Central (121) and Lake Park (108) en route to their first Devilette title since 2014.
Rowe won a pair of events, scoring a lifetime best 37 feet, 2 inches in the triple jump and 17- 6¼ in the long jump. Rossa posted a lifetime best to win the 100 high hurdles with a time of 15.58 seconds and also placed second in the long jump (17-3¾). Mary Blankemeier cleared 10-9 in the pole vault as the Huskies' other first-place finisher.
OPRF runner-ups included Jahani Pittman (4-8 in high jump), Lila Wine (10-3 in pole vault) and the 1,600 relay team of Katie Lingen, Jada Turner Bailey, Rowe and Fallon Taiwo who recorded a time of 4:13.72.
The Huskies' depth was undeniable with several third-place showings as well. The 400 relay of Majesty Gunn, Lashauni Lashley, Rossa and Destiny White came in third with a time of 51.48. Mahal Schroeder (5:19.94 in 1,600), Athena Lesiotis (12:11.24 in 3,200), Faith Clark (35-2½ in shot put), Rossa (52.28 in 300 low hurdles), Taiwo (4-8 in high jump) all placed third.
OPRF closes out the regular season this month with a series of invites at Hinsdale South (4/19), at Glenbard West (4/22), and at Wheaton Warrenville South (4/28).
Senior pitcher Chardonnay Harris and the Huskies both remained perfect after a 9-0 win against visiting Maine South. Harris improved to 3-0 with another pitching gem. She went the distance, tossing a one-hitter with zero walks and 13 strikeouts.
The Huskies also remained unbeaten at 8-0 as Mariah Scott (3-for-3, 3 RBIs, HR) and Olivia Glass (1-for-2, HR) paced the team offensively.
OPRF hosts Glenbard West on Wednesday, April 19. First pitch is at 4:30.
Fenwick girls soccer
Morgan Hosty scored three goals and Kaylie Fredian had a goal and two assists as the Friars upset Oswego East 4-1 in the PepsiCo Showdown quarterfinals. Lauren Stibich and Isabel Brennan each had an assist for Fenwick.
Brennan is the lone senior starter on the promising Friars' roster.
"We are a young team," Brennan said earlier this season. "We do have a lot of juniors and sophomores that is like the core of our team.
"They're really good, so I think by the time they're seniors we'll be even more solid than we are right now. It's nice because they develop really good team chemistry with each other and they're growing up together."
The Friars' struggles continued Saturday as Montini swept Fenwick in a doubleheader at the Priory.
After a promising 4-0-1 start, Fenwick has lost 8 of 9 games in April.
In Game 1 on Saturday, the Friars' Rachel Martinez went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored in the Broncos' 8-3 victory. Montini consolidated its opening game effort with a 5-2 win in the nightcap. Natalie Cairo hit a two-run home run and Kayley Sherwood finished 2-for-3 with one run scored for Fenwick.
OPRF girls water polo
The Huskies went 1-2 at the Mundelein Tournament. In the team's lone victory, 9-5 over Fremd, Ellie Kennedy-Wood scored four goals. Lizzy Silber, Tamsen Cronin, Nell Behr, Chloe Pimentel and Kathryn Raeder added a goal apiece for the Huskies.
OPRF (10-7) lost to Lincoln-Way Central 8-3 and host Mundelein 7-6. Goalie Kaitlyn Peterson had nine saves in the loss against Lincoln-Way Central. Against Mundelein, she had six saves, while Cronin and Behr led offensively with two goals each.
Fenwick girls lacrosse
Senior Bridget Ritten scored her 200th career goal to spark the Friars past Wheaton United 13-6. Seven players scored for the Friars and goalie Grace Koerner had 11 saves on 17 shots on goal.