One step at a time for Huskies
After upsetting defending Class 3A state champion Morton 2-1 to claim the Morton Regional title, OPRF lost 2-1to Hinsdale Central in an Argo Sectional semifinal against to close the door on the Huskies' solid 12-8-2 season in 2012. This year, the Huskies are focused on making the necessary adjustments from game to game in order to build off the success of last season and make another extended run in the state playoffs.
"We are a young team with many new seniors and juniors entering the varsity level," head coach Paul Wright said. "Getting used to the speed of the game [at the varsity level] has been a little tough for some, but the players are adjusting well. The team has improved in every practice and game, and it's easy to see the growth."
The Huskies welcome back senior Tim Huettel, who moves from outside winger to the forward position, as well as skilled senior midfielders Robbie Holmes and Noah Fluharty. Sam Lisak takes over in net for the Huskies after logging valuable minutes as a goalkeeper in a few varsity games last season when other players were injured.
OPRF is off to a 1-0-1 start this season, including a 2-1 win over Riverside-Brookfield and a 1-1 tie with Leyden. Both goals given up by the Huskies so far have been own goals.
Wright knows that the West Suburban (Silver) Conference is always tough, but if the Huskies employ their aforementioned one game at a time approach, another amazing run this year looks very possible.
"Steps," Wright said about the key to the Huskies' season. "We need to focus on the game at hand and not move ahead down the weeks. We trimmed a few games from our schedule giving us more practice time which should help our preparation."
Reloaded Friars look for more success
Fenwick (16-7-2 in 2012) ended its dream run last season with an Elite 8 appearance after an impressive 1-0 win in penalty kicks over Hinsdale Central in the Argo Sectional final. The Friars (16-7-2 in 2012) also took first place in the perennially tough Chicago Catholic League.
The Friars graduated standout goalkeeper Jacob Peterson (now playing soccer at Valparaiso University), who was lights out during their deep run in the state playoffs. Fenwick also parted ways with first-team all-state midfielder Jack Alberts, another Division 1 college soccer player at Marquette.
Despite the considerable losses of Peterson and Alberts, Fenwick returns two senior leaders in defenders Tom Smith and Joaquin Camara. Carlos Soto, another valuable senior, gets the starting nod at goalkeeper after frequently backing up Peterson last season. The versatile Soto also plays forward.
The Friars are off to a 2-0-0 start this fall, including a 2-1 victory over Bremen in the Windy City Classic with goals from senior defender Jimmy Madormo and Soto.
Fenwick head coach Robert Watson believes that even though a few of his top players from last season's incredible run have graduated, his new core of talented players can bring another Chicago Catholic League championship back with the Friars this season.
"We have some younger players mixed with a solid group of seniors," Watson said. "We need to come together as a team and focus on the details in order to gain success."