Boys soccer off to hot start

Junior+Jadyn+Hsieh-Bailey+fights+for+possession+against+Hinsdale+Central

Photo by Cerys Hattersley

Junior Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey fights for possession against Hinsdale Central

The OPRF boys soccer team is riding one of their best starts in school history, starting the year 7-0 and eyeing a deep playoff run.

The Huskies are coming off a shortened season played in spring 2021. Boys soccer is traditionally played in the fall but due to COVID-19, the previous season was pushed back. As a result, the team is playing two seasons in the same calendar year.

“It allows us to have a head start on jumping back into things,” says senior captain Alex Hauck. “We were able to gel and get back in routine quicker because of the short off-season.”

To begin the season, the team played two games in the Great Midwest Classic tournament at North Central High School in Indianapolis. Their first scheduled game was canceled due to weather, which gave the team motivation used to fuel a 5-0 victory against Shortridge.

“We took out our frustrations during game one in Indy, and we haven’t stopped rolling since,” says Hauck. That same day, the team beat North Central 3-1.

On Aug. 31, the team held their home-opening game against St. Ignatius College Prep. The Huskies were down 1-0 going into the final 20 minutes of the game, before rattling off four straight goals to close out the game.

“The Ignatius game was a thriller, and we came back in it because we never once thought that we were going to lose,” says junior Jadyn Hsieh-Bailey. “We had confidence that we would win the whole time, and that’s why once we scored one goal the rest just kept coming.”

As the game progressed into the second half, more and more fans showed up, including other OPRF athletes coming from their finished practices and games.

“The fan turnout has been nothing less than awesome,” says Hauck. “It acts as the twelfth man.”

If there was a game that showed how explosive the Huskies’ offense can be, it would be their Sept. 9 victory over Leyden. After being shut out in the first half, sophomore Easton Bogard, senior captain Josh Dennis, and senior Javier Figueroa tallied goals, giving the Huskies a 4-0 win.

“They’re really creative,” says head coach Jason Fried. “Even when the game is not going as well as we want, they’re the type of offense that all it takes is a moment for them and they can turn it around.”

As the Huskies venture further into the season, they will rely on their strong senior class for leadership. “We have a good mix of experienced calmness with some young tenacity,” says Fried.

The upperclassmen have also taken on the responsibility of guiding the team’s younger players. “As the youngest on the team, they (the seniors) have been like older brothers to me,” says Bogard.

With the hot start, the Huskies have been set high expectations, being ranked as high as 29th in the United States.

After recent losses to West Chicago and Hinsdale Central, Coach Fried has confidence that his team will bounce back. “Its all mental. The only thing we have to do is stay focused and stay consistent with our model of play so we are all on the same page,” he says.

Despite their recent losses the team is focused on one goal. “We must have high expectations at this point,” says Hauck. “Speaking for the whole team, we want a state run.”

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