The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls tennis team is spending the entire season on the road due to ongoing construction that has resulted in the courts being used as parking.
While obviously it’s not ideal, head coach Fred Galluzzo used a bit of levity to describe the situation.
“It’s like we’re the Washington Generals playing the Harlem Globetrotters — we’re always the away team,” he said. “It’s really a shame and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
A consequence of having no home matches is that the Huskies have not been able to hold senior night festivities. Galluzzo is looking to find a way to honor this season’s seniors but admits it’s difficult given the circumstances.
“We’ve got 12 seniors and we’d like to give them a good sendoff,” he said. “But it’s tough when you don’t have a home court to celebrate.”
The hope is that once construction is done in the spring, the courts themselves will be rebuilt and ready to play next fall.
Despite the logistical challenges, OPRF has been largely competitive so far this fall. Galluzzo believes his top two doubles teams of Martha Brennan/Basma Raja and Angie Berggren/Margot Eldred are the Huskies’ strength.
“If we have two solid doubles teams in a conference tournament or a sectional, we’re pretty happy with that,” he said.
He hopes that the doubles teams can compensate for a lack of experience in singles.
“We have a freshman and a sophomore who are talented players that will be good later,” said Galluzzo.
The West Suburban Silver is powerful once again, and according to Galluzzo, and that can only foster growth for the young Huskies.
“It sounds like a broken CD, but if the West Suburban Silver isn’t the toughest tennis conference in the state, it’s the second-toughest,” he said. “We’re happy to be in it because the competition is solid, but it’s a tough road to have to play these teams on a daily basis. These kids are going to get better.”
Friars off to solid start in 2021
Fenwick High School’s girls tennis team is off to a solid start this fall, compiling a 9-5 record.
In his 30th season, head coach Gerard Sullivan has a good group of returnees, including juniors Maeve Paris and Kate Trifilio, who each would have been state qualifiers in singles had there been a tournament last year.
Moreover, the Friars have received valuable contributions from its doubles’ teams, which feature Caroline Blair, Kate Dugan and Megan Trifilio among others.
“The team has racked up wins from our depth positions in doubles,” said Sullivan. “Beating Fremd 3-2 and placing second at their invitational Sept. 4 with our top three missing is an example.”
The Girls Catholic Athletic Conference race is expected to be a tight one. Fenwick should be in the mix along with Loyola Academy, Providence Catholic and St. Ignatius.
New coach at Trinity helm
Trinity High School’s tennis team has a new head coach, with Carolyn Rutili replacing Mary Ann Rose this fall. And she’s been pleased with the effort the Blazers have given her so far.
“Our season is going very well,” she said. “The girls are having fun while playing, and that’s our biggest focus, along with practicing fundamentals.”
Sophomore Anna Ruggiero is Trinity’s No. 1 singles player, and Rutili believes she’s improved her consistency and power. Sophomore Neve Guardiola is undefeated this season, and seniors Grace Bennett and Claire Dooley are the top doubles team.
“We have so much spirit and care for each other,” she said. “I think their positivity and care will get them through anything.”