If this season’s OPRF boys lacrosse team has a shot at improving on its 10-8 overall record in 2010, playing physical is one priority.

The Huskies return just six players from last year, four of which were starters. Dan Javor (midfield), Stephen Golz (midfield), Charlie Prescott (attack) and Conor O’Leary (defense) are back along with Nick Gadsby (midfield) and Matt Dickie (defense). Javor is a threat on offense from anywhere on the field, according to OPRF head coach Dan Ganschow. The junior finished second on the team in total points last season.

“We are young but the players have bought into the system the staff has put out there,” said Ganschow, now entering his 14th season at the helm. “They want to push each other in the right direction.”

Along with several newcomers to the team, Ganschow has been impressed with the pre-season play of Grant Hall and Tom Ide.

“I think their athletic ability, speed and skill are going to add a great dimension to the offensive side of the ball,” he said of Grant, a sophomore and Ide, a junior.

Junior Brennan Van Spankeren is also expected to fit into OPRF’s objectives this season. “Brennan is a tough kid and when he is on the field our defense will be strong,” said Ganschow.

Lyons Township and Hinsdale Central are expected to vie for the top spot in the West Suburban Conference, with OPRF and Glenbard West likely battling it out for second place. After they won the title at the B-level last year, the Hilltoppers debut at the A level this season, and Ganschow is aware of their abilities.

“They have great athletes and their coach, football coach Carl Landi, loves getting his Hilltopper football players out on the lacrosse field. They are competitive, athletic, physical, and definitely a team to watch,” he said. “I want to get the conference title back to OPRF, just like every year, but the team needs more assessment and game action.”

Overall, Ganschow said he’s optimistic about this season and the future of the program, especially with the sport being sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association next year.

“The off-season proved to be productive,” he noted. “The staff developed some young players and it looks as though the program has good depth at the lower levels.”

The Huskies host York on April 4 (5:30 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...