March 13th, 2018 12:00 PM
By Marty Farmer
Oak Park and River Forest High School girls water polo coach Beth Perez isn't worried about scoring this season. If anything, she hopes the Huskies' prolific offense can reach an even higher level.
"The key to a successful season will be improving on our strengths," Perez said. "Our strengths include players with immense offensive ability and the ability to communicate and see the pool well."
The Huskies certainly came out with a scoring mentality in their season debut against Waubonsie Valley on March 8. OPRF defeated the Warriors 16-6 as senior Greta Drane had five goals and two assists. Bennett Gloor and Lizzy Silber each scored three goals, while Mary Vanek and Nell Behr chipped in two goals apiece for OPRF. Goalies Sara Flynn (5 saves) and Sydney Mosher (4 saves) played well between the pipes.
Marie O'Donnell, Julia Thomason and Abby Heyer are other players expected to contribute this season.
"The players have been together in the offseason," Perez said. "They played together and got to know each other more in and out of the pool."
OPRF, which finished 17-13 overall and 3-2 in conference last year, should be competitive again in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division. Lyons Township and York are the other top teams in the league.
A series of challenging invites, including Whitney Young and Naperville North, will serve as a good barometer of the team's progress.
"We may see Lyons [at Whitney Young] which would be interesting," Perez said. "Our games at the Naperville North Invite are always tough. They show what level we are at as we move to the conference tournament and sectionals.
In late April, the Huskies travel to Michigan to take on schools from the Hudsonville/Zeeland area.
"It's a team-bonding trip," Perez said. "It's our third year at this tournament and fourth year overall in Michigan. We face some good competition."
The Huskies are off to a 3-2 start this season, with wins against Homewood-Flossmoor, Mundelein and New Trier.
Although OPRF graduated several key contributors last spring, top returners Dan Franklin, Thomas Cozzi and Abe Zuraw ensure some continuity. Franklin had 28 goals, 23 ejections drawn and 21 steals last season, while Cozzi (29 goals, 30 steals) and Zuraw (19 goals, 17 steals) also had solid seasons.
"Dan has a very high game IQ and he's a great teammate," OPRF coach John Rapp said. "Thomas is a player you can put in any position and expect him to excel. Abe has really good vision of the pool."
Sophomore center Cal Jaques, sophomore goalie Braydon Graves and freshman attacker Finn McMullen are promising newcomers to the varsity.
"We have a lot of talent and a great mix of different skills," Rapp said. "Our goals are the same every season, make it to the conference and sectional championship games."
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.
Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.
Why do the taxpayers who pay for these deals never get to see...
By Terry Stanton
Posted: May 25th, 2018 6:56 PM
On: D97, teachers union close in on...
"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes...
By Alexis Robertson
Posted: May 25th, 2018 5:24 PM
On: A plea to young adults
I like this idea, and would like to find out more, but neither...
By Renee Geweniger Zoltowski
Posted: May 25th, 2018 4:53 PM
On: Co-housing comes to Oak Park
I volunteered with Howard many times and particularly remember...
By Donna Peel
Posted: May 25th, 2018 4:26 PM
On: Missing River Forest man found dead
Well, John, it happens in Oak Park the same way that the recent...
By Bill Dwyer
Posted: May 25th, 2018 12:17 PM
On: Shooting leaves one wounded outside...
We've lost a wonderful woman. Everywhere she went she made the...
By Sandi Bruns
Posted: May 25th, 2018 10:46 AM
On: Nancy Follett, 86, activist leader...
View All Comments