Oak Park and River Forest and Lyons Township have developed one of the best high school soccer rivalries in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division, which means fans are treated to an exciting match every year.
This year’s edition was no different, as the host Lions rallied from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Huskies 3-2 in LaGrange on Sept. 9 in the WSC Silver opener for both teams.
“It’s got that playoff mentality,” OPRF coach Paul Wright said. “You can’t get this game back if you’re a senior and so our kids approach it that way.”
The Huskies’ Graham Nagle-Deamer scored on a 50-yard free kick with 13:01 left in the first half. It was his first high school goal and gave the Huskies, who were controlling play, a 1-0 lead.
“I kick them long and hope for the best,” Nagle-Deamer said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to put it in front of the goalie and hope for the best.”
But the Lions (8-2, 2-0) roared back to score the next three goals en route to victory.
The Huskies (4-4-1, 1-1) have had a lead in most of their losses, so they know what they need to work on.
“Our record hasn’t really [reflected] how we’ve been playing so far,” Nagle-Deamer said. “We’ve been making progress every game. I think if we keep improving at the rate we have been, we’re going to be really good and make a run in the playoffs.”
In other matches last week, OPRF edged Glenbard West 2-1 in OT. Harrison Engoren scored both goals, including the game-winner with 19 seconds left in OT when he rebounded a shot from Zach El Metennani that hit the crossbar.
“It was almost like a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Engoren said. “Every kid dreams of it. It just feels good to win a conference game.”
In the first round of the PepsiCo Showdown on Saturday, the 13th-seeded Huskies lost 4-0 to St. Viator.
Influx of young talent bolsters Fenwick
If the Fenwick High School boys soccer team wins another Chicago Catholic League championship this season, the honor will be achieved with plenty of new players.
All-State defender Tom Smith, goalkeeper Carlos Soto and seven other starters graduated. While eight other players return from last year’s squad, which finished 8-8-4 overall but 4-1 in the CCL, the Friars offer a relatively new look this season.
Newcomers Kyle Gruszka, Pat Daly and Max Herrera are all in the mix for the starting goalkeeper position. Senior forward Jonathan Kagan along with senior defenders Charlie Rhomberg and Michael Beaudin bring much-needed experience to the team. Coach Rob Watson believes the Friars’ midfielders featuring juniors Matt Benko, Luke Wolff, Erik Luthringshausen and Pat Jacobs along with sophomores John Curran and Joe Scanlon will comprise the team’s strongest unit.
“What we lack in experience, we will make up for with talent, hard work, and depth,” Watson said. “We have a large group of players that will see the field early and often. The competition level is very high, as there are many spots that still remain unsettled. Our goal is to come together as a unit, work hard, and improve every day”
Fenwick is off to a 3-5 start this season, including a 1-1 record in the CCL. Last week, The Friars defeated Montini 4-0 at the Priory, but also lost a pair of PepsiCo Showdown matches, 3-2 in OT against Plainfield East at Olympic Park and 3-0 against Huntley at Lyons Township.
Kagan, Liam Kelleher, Jack Hill and Jack Hosty each scored a goal against Montini, while Daly and Gruszka combined in net for the shutout. Kagan scored both goals against Plainfield East.
Earlier in the season, Fenwick picked up a couple of wins over Bloom and Thornton at the Windy City Ram Classic.