The result of this Saturday’s season opener against Downers Grove South won’t be much of an indicator for how well the OPRF soccer team should be this season. It’s going to take a couple more weeks and a few games, according to head coach Doug Hunt, before permanent positions are nailed down.
The delay is mostly due to the upcoming spring break, which always leaves teams with a skeleton crew as players take family vacations or players depart on academic trips. It also gives Hunt additional time to ponder whose skills would be more useful at other positions.
Four spots not in question are the ones held by returning seniors Ana Poppageorge, Claire Sapko, Sarah Bunch, and Jenny Donley. Poppageorge, Bunch and Donley combined for 23 goals last season. Poppageorge’s season was cut short due to a MCL strain. Nonetheless, the group helped the Huskies to a stellar 17-5-1 record, including a 5-1 conference mark, which was good enough to share the West Suburban (Silver) title with Hinsdale Central.
Others expected to contribute significantly on offense include Katie O’Brien, Debbie Marter, Hali Schwartz, Taylor Kula, and Molly McGinnes. The defense will be anchored by seniors Amanda Corcos, Tori Karsten, and Camille Gebert.
With the departure of five seniors last year, including Bridget Gallogly and her 12 assists, and stellar goalkeeper M.G. Huth, the Huskies have some big shoes to fill. Juniors Anya Twillie and Kelsey Rosenquist will take up gatekeeping duties.
“It’ll be two or three weeks into the season before we find out what we’re really made of,” said Hunt, who enters his 17th year as head coach of the girls program. “It would be nice to make the same numbers we did last year but it won’t be easy. It all depends on how the chemistry comes together.”
The Huskies travel to the Lake Park tournament on Saturday where they’ll take on Mundelein, the only team to score four or more goals against them last season.
Repeating as conference co-champs will be difficult with Hinsdale Central and Lyons Township returning most of their lineups. Last season, with Gallogly out injured, LT knocked OPRF out of the playoffs for the third straight year.
“LT has always been a big rivalry for us, but yeah I think the team is tired of them ending the season,” said Hunt. “Maybe we won’t have to play them in the postseason this time around.”
The Huskies host LT on April 19.