A relatively new team this season has OPRF head tennis coach Fred Galluzzo searching for a clear and decisive lineup.

Two players that Galluzzo expects to lead the young team are returners Margaret Kempster and Liz Hanley. Kempster, a state qualifier in singles last year, is expected to take No. 1 singles duties at least for the early season, according to Galluzzo.

“Margaret is a very versatile player. She played doubles in a recent tournament and did quite well, so I’m still not set on cementing her at one spot the entire season,” he said. “For now, we’ll have her at first singles.”

Galluzzo said he was thinking the same about Hanley, a junior who qualified in doubles last year.

“Liz is also a real good singles player, so I’m not ruling out that she’ll play some singles matches, even come sectional time,” he said.

The Huskies, who finished tied for 17th overall at state last year, have struggled to start the season. They lost to Evanston 4-3 in the season opener, and finished 13th at a 16-team tournament on Saturday hosted by New Trier.

Galluzzo is counting on the play of Claire Griffin, Arielle Makowitz, and Julie Smith, who have experience playing varsity matches. Seniors hoping to make an impact include Ashley Ehire, Aleisha Gardner, and Megan Gustafson, a transfer student from Neuqua Valley. Newcomers to the squad are juniors Carlie Frisch, Jenny Hedund, and Caitlin Killion.

Galluzzo also has a corp of talented sophomores to pick from in Elena Berznis, Lisa Lucchese, Erinn McKune, Meghan Munoz, and Andie Pizzo.

“I tried four different lineups at the tournament on Saturday, so that’s a good indication that we need to see where everyone is most comfortable,” said Galluzzo. “We have two matches coming up and then we’ll move into conference action. I plan to have things aligned by then.”

The Huskies have a good shot at improving on last year’s fifth-place finish in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference. Hinsdale Central is said to be the only team in contention for the title. Lyons Township and York could challenge OPRF for second place.

The Huskies will host York on Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m.

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...