This season’s OPRF boys volleyball team has quite a few gaps to fill, especially with the loss of two of its best players to graduation last year. But with some new faces along with a few returning starters, the Huskies could continue their dominance in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference.

Gone are the big guns in Tim Schmidt and Justin Cousins, who steered OPRF to a 27-9 overall record last year, including a perfect 6-0 mark in the conference for the title. Returning starters DJ Valenti (6-foot-6, middle hitter), Ben Wilks (6-3, outside hitter) and Mike Fredrick (libero) bring senior leadership with experience to the team.

Other seniors that will likely contribute significantly include setters Baatar Baatarchuluun (setter), Will Kemper (setter), Alex Berton (outside hitter), Owen Brady (outside hitter), Luke Khan (middle hitter) and Jim Kasang (middle hitter).

In order to stay atop the conference with such opponents like Lyons Township and Hinsdale Central expected to make a run, OPRF will need to count on a bevy of juniors. Mark Carioscio (setter), George Burgi (middle hitter), Greg Kordesh (middle hitter), Ethan Thomas (middle hitter), Dan Kemper and Tom Zyer (libero) will likely see significant playing time.

Diego Rodriguez-Guerrios, who transferred from Puerto Rico, will split time between setter and outside hitter.

The Huskies jump into the Hoffman Estates Invitational this weekend, followed by the Wheaton Warrenville South Tournament next week. They’ll host Morton in their home opener on April 11 (4:30 p.m.).

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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...