The Oak Park and River Forest High School boys volleyball team used a fast start to set the tone against Payton Prep in the IHSA OPRF Sectional final May 30. The Huskies started the match by scoring 14 of the first 15 points and breezed to a 25-11, 25-14 victory over the Grizzlies, advancing to the IHSA state quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.
“That was our goal tonight, to start fast,” said OPRF coach Justin Cousin. “We wanted to make sure we executed at a high level and limited our errors.”
There was a large crowd in the OPRF fieldhouse, and senior Peter Zurawski (seven kills, three blocks, ace) felt the Huskies fed off of their energy.
“We normally don’t get this many fans,” he said. “So it was imperative to show them what we’ve been grinding for and what we can do.”
OPRF (21-6) raced out to a 7-0 lead in the opening set, forcing Payton (11-15) to take a timeout. After the Grizzlies got a kill to get on the board, the Huskies went on another 7-0 run and cruised the rest of the way.
“We’ve been working on starting fast every set,” Zurawski said. “I feel if we can do that, it’s going to be tough to beat us.”
Payton led early in the second set 5-2, but OPRF responded with a 9-1 run to take command, and Zurawski sealed the sectional title for the Huskies with a block.
Senior Ryan Montroy (team-leading 9 kills, ace), senior Daniel Moran (8 digs), senior Ralph Bennet (2 blocks), and junior Quinn Borzath (10 assists) were other notable OPRF contributors.
“It feels good to end my home career like this,” Montroy said. “I’m happy I got a chance to play the sport.”
The Huskies meet Whitney Young in a state quarterfinal on June 2. Match time is set for 11:30 a.m. at Hoffman Estates High School.
“We just need to come out and play our game,” said Montroy. “All of us are very talented and have been playing since seventh grade and early high school. We have a good team dynamic and if we can maintain it, there aren’t many teams that can beat us.”
OPRF softball advances to sectional final
Bella Morales turned in another dominant performance in the circle, and Jordan Alioto went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer as OPRF blanked Taft 6-0 in an IHSA Class 4A sectional semifinal at Whitney Young on May 30.
Morales scattered five hits over seven innings with 12 strikeouts and a walk, and Rachel Buchta and Gloria Hronek each had two hits and a RBI for the Huskies (28-7), who meet Maine South for the sectional championship June 2.
Fenwick soccer ousted by De La Salle
The Fenwick High School girls soccer team saw its bid to reach the IHSA Class 2A state semifinals for the second consecutive year halted as De La Salle’s Mia Ortega scored twice to hand the Friars (8-10-5) a 2-0 loss in the De La Salle Supersectional on May 30.