The good news this season for the OPRF volleyball team is that Jillian Briner is back. Briner, now a junior, was the Huskies’ leading server last season and will assume the role again for this campaign. Last season, she was also second on the team in kills behind the now graduated Sara Shannon.
“I expect her to have a major role in the team’s offense this season,” said OPRF head coach Don August in regards to the 5-foot-10-inch Briner. “We will rely on her jump serve, her spiking ability and her ability to distribute the ball to the other hitters.”
The not so good news is that Briner is the lone returning starter back from a team that went 27-13 overall and won a regional championship over cross-town rival Fenwick.
But lack of experience shouldn’t be an issue for this squad. Not with several players returning who had significant playing time last season. Bianca Ray (middle hitter), Kate Elgie (outside hitter), Jennifer Pesce (outside hitter), Claire Sullivan (right-side hitter) and Stephanie Sullivan (defensive specialist) return to the fold to try and improve on OPRF’s 3-3 West Suburban (Silver) Conference mark. Claire Sullivan is the tallest on the OPRF team at 5-11, while Elgie is 5-10.
Newcomers expected to see playing time include Maggie Quinn (middle hitter), Rachel Shannon (middle hitter) Anna Munz (outside hitter) and Laney Thompson (defensive specialist).
“[We’re] smaller than last year’s squad; [therefore] will rely on a strong serving game and strong defense to be successful,” said August.
The Huskies host Resurrection on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. After hosting Downers Grove North on Sept. 8 for the West Suburban (Silver) Conference opener, the team travels down the street to take on Fenwick on Sept. 10 (6 p.m.).