Flu bug, injury takes bite out of Huskies
Updated: September 6, 2011 9:26PM
With at least three players battling the flu last week, the Oak Park-River Forest boys soccer team needed some rest prior to this week’s Pepsi Showdown.
The 13th-seeded Huskies were set to open play in the greater Chicago area’s largest tournament against Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, with a victory securing a match against Young or fourth-seeded St. Charles North today.
OPRF was scheduled to play Highland Park on Saturday, but the match was called after a few minutes due to lightning and rain showers.
Seniors Ryan Brown and Noe Espinoza, and junior Max Menzies, have missed time because of the flu. The Huskies also received a dose of bad news when GianLuca Locasto was ruled out for four to six weeks with a leg injury. Menzies starts as a defender.
The Huskies (5-0-0) defeated Young 5-0 in Oak Park Sept. 1, with goalkeeper Andrew Galo netting his first career shutout. OPRF had not allowed a goal in its previous four games.
The team’s first three shutouts went to senior keeper Granger Sheppard.
In other news, senior forward Stephen Golz has committed to play next season for NCAA Division III Wheaton College, where both of his older brothers already play. Stephen, a River Forest resident, will not get to play with one of his brothers, Drew, a senior, who was named player of the week Sept. 6 in the Collegiate Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Drew Golz is the top returning scorer this season for Wheaton. Another brother, Jordan, is a sophomore midfielder for the Thunder. Jordan played in 18 games and started 11 for Wheaton last season.
Drew is the all-time leading scorer in OPRF history with 50 career goals.
Stephen scored his fourth goal of the 2011 season against Young, putting him one behind team leader David Leitson.
Three-year starter Zach Weigel sprained his right ankle at St. Ignatius on Aug. 29, but returned to play against Young.
Weigel is the top returning pitcher for the baseball team, and he balanced both sports during a busy offseason.
“Between soccer and baseball, it was tough playing high school baseball in one day and then going to a soccer game or camp at night,” Weigel said. “I was going from sport to sport.”
With lineups changing nearly every game, Weigel said one boost has been the addition of California transfer Nick Radosavlijevic, a senior midfielder.
OPRF’s next four games will be part of the 32-team Pepsi Showdown, with the tournament championship game scheduled for Toyota Park on Sept. 18.
“(The Pepsi) is big. You always get up for that,” Weigel said. “We have a little chip on our shoulder since we were ranked in the top 10 in the preseason.”
Fenwick, unseeded in the Pepsi Showdown, opened tourney play at eighth-seeded Metea Valley on Tuesday. The winner plays St. Rita or Niles West today.
OPRF begins West Suburban Silver play at York on Sept. 20.