All mine: OPRF senior forward Emily Gullo's shot attempt is intercepted by Fenwick goalkeeper Sydney Galvez-Daley in the first half.Photos by J. GEIL/Staff Photographer

Everything seems to be going right for the Fenwick girls soccer team.

The Friars (14-7-3) began last week with a come-from-behind win over Marist. Claire Madden scored a hat-trick with three unanswered goals to lead her team to a 3-1 victory. Fenwick followed up the feat with a 0-0 double overtime tie against Nazareth that gave the Friars the East Suburban Catholic Conference title for the first time in school history.

Then, on Thursday, to conclude the regular season, the Friars received a boost of momentum for the impending playoffs by defeating cross-town rival OPRF 4-2. Madden scored another hat-trick (her third of the season), while Audrey Keifer added one goal.

“We have been gaining momentum at the right time of year,” said head coach Robert Watson, whose Friars, prior to the tie with Nazareth, had won five straight games and six of their last eight. The team’s only loss during those eight games was a 1-0 thriller against Loyola.

“Victory is always nice, especially against our neighbor,” added Watson. “More important to me, is the way we played. A lot of key players stepped up their games. It is nice to see us playing well in all areas as we enter state.”

Fenwick’s striker tandem of Madden and Keifer has produced 29 goals in 24 games. But it’s the play at midfield and on defense that Watson said is the reason his team has been able to finish the regular season so strong. Notable midfielders for the Friars include Audrey Galvin, Megan Frank and Molly Wallach. The defense has been anchored by Mia Patrevito, Mary Kate Hussey, and Meredith St. Clair. Goalie Sydney Galvez-Daley recorded 10 shutouts during the regular season. The gatekeeper had 12 saves against OPRF.

“Like most teams early in the year, we played a very tough schedule under very tough weather conditions,” said Watson. “Our goal was to improve every single day, and I believe we have done that. We have an amazing group of student-athletes that have stuck together and persevered.”

In just the first 31 seconds of action, OPRF’s Tess Trinka scored the first goal of last week’s showdown. Emily Gullo also found the net for the Huskies, pushing her total to 17 goals on the season and 62 in her career.

“It hurts to lose but what a great game,” said OPRF soccer coach Paul Wright, who announced back in early March that this would be his final season coaching the girls program. “Easily the largest turn out for a girls soccer game — it was great for these kids on both sides of the ball to experience an atmosphere like this. I tip my hat to Rob Watson, his players battled and really wanted it.”

The Friars, seeded fifth in the York Sectional, were scheduled to open the playoffs against De La Salle last night (Tues., May 17, after deadline). A victory would likely pit Fenwick against Hinsdale Central in the Hinsdale Central Regional Championship on Friday (May 20, 5 p.m.).

The Huskies (10-5-2) are the No. 2 seed in the York Sectional. They began the state playoffs on May 17 (after deadline) against either Proviso East or Farragut. A win would match them up against either St. Ignatius or Curie in the St. Ignatius Regional title game on Friday (May 20, 4:30 p.m.).

Fenwick will likely need to get past No. 1 seed Lyons Township in order for a possible re-match against OPRF in the York Sectional Championship on May 27.

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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...