For the first time since 2019, the Oak Park and River Forest High School girls tennis team is playing matches on campus due to their courts being used as a staging area for the ongoing campus construction.
OPRF coach Fred Galluzzo is especially pleased to be back at home given the logistical challenges of the last two years.
“We were all tired of constant bus rides, particularly since many of our practices needed to be in a public park,” he said.
Having graduated five players from last season, this year is a reloading one for OPRF. But on Sept. 21, the Huskies rose to the occasion in a home match against crosstown rival Fenwick High School and prevailed 6-3.
OPRF recorded a pair of victories in singles play. At No. 2 singles, freshman Maria Clara Lau defeated Marin Jancewicz 6-1, 6-0, while senior Libby Majka knocked off Leah Hyland 6-4, 6-4 at No. 3 singles.
The Huskies also won four doubles matches: Kitty DeHaan and Margot Sloan over Caroline Gruber and Mae Mae McDonnell 7-6 (7-3 in the tiebreaker), 6-4; Maya Schwartz and Clara Ottati over Ellie Karls and Angelina Squeo 6-1, 6-0; Alice Caldwell and Sophie Welch over Anna Androsyuk and Natalie Fuentes 6-2, 6-3; and Baylee Piasecki and Sophia Lynn over Natalie Sur and Maddie Murray 6-4, 6-2.
“We’ve been trying to find the right combination of solid singles play and good doubles teams,” said Galluzzo.
OPRF hopes to finish in the top three of the West Suburban Conference Silver Division, but it won’t be easy with programs such as Glenbard West, Hinsdale Central, Lyons Township and York as the top contenders. The Huskies will also host an IHSA sectional next month.
Fenwick had three victories against OPRF. At No. 1 singles, Trinity Hardin defeated Anika Gupta 6-1, 6-4.
The Friars’ top two doubles teams also won: Megan Trifilio and Lily Brecknock over Margaret Brennan and Maeve Marzec 6-3, 7-5 and Rachel Abraham and Maeve Paris over Kathryn Meister and Jessica Locke 6-0, 6-2.
Coming off a season in which Fenwick finished third in IHSA Class 1A and brought home the first state trophy in program history, coach Gerard Sullivan is pleased with how things are going.
“This is a group that plays serious, focused tennis in practice, which has set a foundation for how they approach their matches,” he said. “They’re still learning ways to play more aggressive and adaptive tennis.”
The Friars hope to defend their Girls Catholic Athletic Conference championship next month, though Sullivan believes Loyola Academy will provide a challenge. Also, with five players returning from last year, there are expectations for another successful state tournament.
“How we play in the big matches coming up during the key games and points will show what kind of team we are,” Sullivan said. “If we perform well, the results will take care of themselves.”