Fenwick’s Ryan Bero scored a hat trick to key a 3-2 overtime win over Homewood-Floosmoor on Aug. 28 at the Windy City Classic Tournament. Bero (above) leads the Friars with four goals in three matches so far this season. (Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer)

The Fenwick High School boys soccer team is off to a 2-1 start this season after defeating Homewood-Flossmoor 3-2 in overtime Aug. 28 at the Windy City Classic, thanks to a hat trick by senior forward Ryan Bero.

Bero has started the season well with four goals in three games. Other Friars expecting to make an impact on the pitch include senior midfielders Jack Powers, a four-year starter who made the all-conference team during the spring, Zach Hernandez, Luigi Mollo, senior defender Will Jancewicz and senior goalkeeper Greg Price.

With the loss of 17 players from the spring season, Fenwick coach Craig Blazer is hoping the returning players can help set a foundation for what will be a young and inexperienced roster.

“We graduated an outstanding group of seniors that’s going to be hard to replace,” said Blazer, in his second season. “The challenge of doing that with the group we have is pretty exciting, and we do have quality senior leadership.”

The Chicago Catholic League Blue figures to be another challenge for the Friars this season. Moreover, Fenwick will participate in the PepsiCo Tournament as well as have tough non-conference affairs with Riverside-Brookfield and Oak Park-River Forest. 

The latter contest takes place Sept. 25 at the Dominican Priory, and Blazer senses the team is especially eager for the matchup.

“They love their rivalry with [OPRF],” he said. “I don’t think the seniors have ever hosted a game with them because of different scheduling, but we’re really looking forward to it.”

While the daunting schedule could mean the Friars take a few lumps, Blazer feels it will be worth it come the postseason. 

“It’s going to be an interesting process just to get these guys playing better and being more effective. But we’re optimistic,” he said. “We think that come the end of the year this group is going to look very good.”

OPRF tallies 2 wins at Indy tourney

Oak Park and River Forest High School got its season off to a good start with a pair of wins Aug. 28 at the Great Midwest Classic in Indianapolis.

The Huskies shut out Indianapolis Shortridge 5-0 in their first game as Easton Bogard notched two goals. Josh Dennis added a goal and an assist, while Lindsey Foster had three assists. 

OPRF defeated North Central 3-1 in the second game, with Bogard again tallying two goals. The sophomore is picking up where he left off in the spring, when he had a season-leading nine goals.

In his sixth season as head coach, Jason Fried is glad to have a true season this fall, and he’s optimistic about the Huskies’ outlook. 

“We have a great group of players this year,” he said. “As long as [they] commit to just keep improving throughout the season, they’ll be very competitive. We all have high expectations.”

Other OPRF players to keep an eye on are midfielders Isaac Cummings and Alex Hauck, defenders Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey, Eric Jackson and Ben Nisbet and goalkeeper Sam Pecenka.

OPRF will take part in the PepsiCo Tournament and face crosstown rival Fenwick Sept. 25 before embarking on the unforgiving West Suburban Silver conference schedule, which features several of Chicagoland’s top programs. 

“Every team is competitive,” Fried said. “We’re lucky because it makes all of our teams better. I feel we definitely can compete for the title this year, but every game will be tough.”

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