With the high caliber of conference competition this season and several difficult tournaments, by the end of the 2010 schedule the OPRF volleyball team will either be flying high or welcoming a break in the action.

The Huskies, led by Northeastern University-bound setter Jillian Briner, kicked off the season last week by going 1-1. OPRF downed area-rival Trinity 25-17, 25-17 and fell 21-25, 19-25 to St. Ignatius, who also defeated the Huskies in the regional title game last season.

OPRF is looking to improve on last season’s overall record of 13-26 and West Suburban (Silver) Conference mark of 2-4, which will be a difficult task considering two Silver Division teams – Lyons Township and York – are currently ranked in the top 10.

Head coach Don August said he likes what he sees in this season’s team.

“This year’s team looks a bit stronger than last year and we’re certainly optimistic about this season,” he said. “Our goal is to improve our level of play. If we accomplish this our regular season record will be improved as will our conference record.”

Briner helped lead her club team, 1st Alliance, to a gold medal during the summer’s AAU Club Championships in Orlando, Fla. The 5-foot-10 senior setter finished all-conference the last two years for the Huskies and served up a total of 72 service aces during her junior season.

August said that with a talented supporting cast around Briner the team should be formidable this season. The cast includes Anna Munz (5-10, outside hitter), Maggie Quinn (5-10, outside hitter), Jamie Sherr (5-10, middle hitter), Laney Thompson (5-6, libero), Katy Oldach (5-7, setter) and Isabel Monaghan (5-9, middle hitter).

Also expected to see considerable playing time are juniors Audrey Greffin (6-0, middle hitter) and Haley Clarke (6-0, right-side hitter).

The Huskies begin the gamut of tough tournaments this season with a trip up to Winnetka for the Trier Invitational on Friday and Saturday. They’ll return home on Sept. 9 to take on cross-town rival Fenwick (6 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...