OPRF Huskie #5 (Gweny Lopez, Jr.) looking to pass during match on April 21, 2023. | Sara Janz

The Oak Park and River Forest High School girls soccer team defeated Bolingbrook 3-1 on April 22 at New Trier as part of the Naperville North Invitational. Lilah Malik scored a pair of goals and Gweny Lopez had two assists for the Huskies (4-5-1), who have won three of their last four matches.

The victory was a nice bounce back from the previous evening, which saw visiting Loyola Academy score three second-half goals to put away OPRF 5-1. A goal by the Ramblers’ Grace Lynch just over four minutes into the contest put the Huskies in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.

“We fought hard, but Loyola’s just a powerhouse team,” said OPRF coach Christie Johnston. “We needed to come together a bit sooner in the game.”

OPRF Huskie #3 (Isabella Kalina, Sr.) looking for opportunity to pass during match against Loyola on April 21, 2023. | Sara Janz

Lynch scored her second goal with 12:03 left in the first half, and Loyola, who were on the front foot from the beginning, looked poised to break things open before halftime. 

But OPRF goalkeeper Jackie Bollinger prevented that from occurring with a few strong saves. Her play allowed the Huskies to gradually get back into the match, and they cut the deficit to 2-1 with 4:18 remaining on a rebound goal by Kiki Leman, following up Malie Cassel’s shot.

“Jackie is a phenomenal goalkeeper who works really hard,” Johnston said. “She kept us in it and I’m proud of how she played.”

The contest then evolved into a stalemate for the next 19 minutes with neither team able to create much offensively. But with 25:01 left in the second half, Loyola’s Mia Wisler floated a shot just over Bollinger’s reach to give the Ramblers a 3-1 advantage.

The goal was a killer for the Huskies as nine minutes later, Loyola’s Emmy Christopher found the net to raise the lead to 4-1 and essentially ice the match. She added a second goal with 8:56 left to conclude the scoring. 

“The last five minutes of the first half, we were outstanding,” Johnston said. “Now we need to be that way for a full 80 minutes.”

Despite the loss, Johnston remains believes things will continue to get better as long as they learn from matches against teams like Loyola. 

“Everything’s positive. We’re still working together as a team and the girls are resilient,” she said. “This tournament prepares us for the state tournament as well as our tougher conference teams, and we’re honored to be part of it.”

Up next for OPRF is a crosstown matchup versus Trinity High School on April 28 at Dominican University in River Forest.

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