Girls soccer off to hot start


Photo courtesy of Charlotte Greenstone

The girls soccer team is off to an incredible start, thanks to tenacious play from their midfield.

“Having the ability to raise the level of competition in girls soccer the last few years since I’ve been head coach has been tremendous,” said head coach Christine Johnston. “The girls have been incredibly committed since preseason. It’s been a huge pleasure to work with them.”

The team sits at 10-2 and is ranked 16th in the state. OPRF has not had a winning record in girls soccer since 2014. “This has definitely been the best season the program has had in a while,” said senior Julia Daun.

“It seems like we have accomplished a lot with regards to the culture and raising the level of competition,” said Johnston. “The girls bought into my philosophy and expectations. It’s been really nice to see that success come through.”

“Our team is very strong this year, both defensively and on the attack,” said junior Kiki Leman. “We have some tough games coming up. We’ve been working hard to refine and enhance our game.”

Leman continued by praising the team’s defense and communication, as well as their solid lineup.

“It’s one of the reasons our season has been so successful,” she said. “We’re able to gain and keep possession and quickly distribute the ball up the field to our midfield and forwards.”

Twelve players have returned to the team to continue the tenacious play of the program and bring more experience as well. “The leadership that this group of seniors has shown has led the path for the other players,” said Johnston.

While many parts of the team have been playing well throughout the season, Johnston shined the most light on the team’s midfield. “Senior Katherine Hoffman, junior Shane Colpoys, and senior Josie Humbert have worked really well together. They dominate the midfield with their crisp passes and understanding each other’s playstyle,” said Johnston. “That group in the middle really possesses strong tactical abilities that help us be successful in our attack.”

Earlier this year in the team’s first game they fell to Glenbrook North 4-0, the third-ranked team in the state at 11-0. “Having those opportunities against strong competition to make us better will pay off.”

After this loss, the team was able to put together an impressive 7 game winning streak, taking down schools such as Fenwick, Hinsdale Central, and St Ignatius. “Beating Hinsdale Central was one of the highlights of the season, as they are a very tough conference team,” said Daun.

Recently, the team faced off against Warren Township and Fremd during the first weekend of the two weekend Naperville North Tournament. On the 22nd, they knocked off Fremd 4-1, and the next day defeated Warren Township 2-1. “Those are top teams that in the past would have blown us out,” said Daun. “Our defense is phenomenal this year and are able to shut down the fastest forwards.”

“We’re gonna use our momentum and continue playing our game,” said Leman. “That’s why we’ve been so successful. Our big wins have created more confidence within our team, which we hope to use in these upcoming weeks when we play some important games.”

OPRF girls soccer is in a really good position right now. “Our mentality is set on winning, and that is why we were able to win those big games against Fremd and Warren,” said Daun.

In the past, the opportunity to fight for a conference title would have been a dream, much less a state title. However, the team has a chance to turn this dream into a reality. “We are one of the leading contenders in our conference,” said Johnston. “I think a lot of teams underestimate our ability. We surprise a lot of teams with our strength and our ability to put the ball in the net.”