The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

Boys Volleyball aims for 7th year at state

The boys volleyball team at Oak Park and River Forest High School is coming off a third-place finish at state during their 2023 season. Their qualification was made possible under the guidance of Head Coach Justin Cousin, an OPRF English teacher. This season is Cousin’s fourth year coaching the boys, continuing a six-year-long streak of advancing to the IHSA Boy’s Volleyball State Tournament.

Volleyball is not as popular as football or basketball at OPRF, but it’s no less exciting. Volleyball is one of the sports at OPRF where the teams continue to thrive.

Cameron Reynolds warming up before the game on March 18.

This year, the teams expect nothing less than to make it to state once again, for a seventh straight season. At a press conference on March 16, Danny McNeilly, a senior player for the Huskies, credited the coaching staff for their victories. “The years of experience they have and the knowledge they have to the game, they’ve been able to coach us really well,” he said, adding that the coaching staff at OPRF is an advantage against other schools.

OPRF’s teams compete in the Illinois West Suburban Conference, one of the most competitive and challenging conferences in high school athletics. Senior leader, Quinn Bozarth (also a staffer for Trapeze) talked about conference rival Glenbard West and said, “We need to… go in and not think of them as a ‘powerhouse’ team,” due to their numerous state titles and first place victory in the WSC-S last year.

Volleyball in the WSC-S is one of the most competitive sports in the conference, with many teams going over .500 in their records in non-conference play, making volleyball one of the best sports in the WSC-S. Each team in the conference sees each game as a “must-win” game, according to McNeilly.

The OPRF team has much promise for the continuing success of the program, in fact, they invited freshman Jimmie “Trayce” Chrusfield III to be on the regular season roster. In addition, the JV and lower levels of the sport continue to have a great passion for the sport and a fantastic coaching staff.

High school athletics always seems to be one of those things that can change on a dime from year to year, but somehow, OPRF volleyball continues to thrive no matter who is on the roster. Many alums of the OPRF volleyball program go on to play in their college careers in Division I, II and III.

Volleyball is on track to have yet another fantastic season, and with only 10 home games on the schedule this season, there aren’t going to be many opportunities to watch OPRF perform. When asked about one word that would describe the team this year, McNeilly said “gritty.” He also emphasized that “you can’t beat effort.” Those who will thrive on the team this year are the players who put the most work in and who will dive for the most balls. 

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