Girls Soccer: New Oak Park coach ready
The season started Monday, but new Oak Park-River Forest coach Ignacio Ponce doesn’t have to wait long to begin the season.
The Huskies play at Naperville Central at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re very excited, obviously,” Ponce said. “It’s a new beginning. Hopefully, we’ll be very good.”
But OPRF will be young with only four returning starters. The Huskies (12-6-2 last season, 4-2 West Suburban Conference Silver Division) had 12 seniors on their roster a year ago. OPRF lost to conference champion York 2-1 in triple overtime in a Class 3A sectional semifinal.
Ponce, a former sophomore coach, takes over for Paul Wright, who resigned as girls coach to take over the boys program on a full-time basis. Wright finished his girls career with a 65-39-7 record in five seasons.
Ponce is a familiar face to many of his players since the Huskies have only four returning senior starters: Renata Voci, Katherine Skrine, Sanya Ivonivic and goalkeeper Katy Oldach, who set for the volleyball team in the fall.
OPRF expects to receive a boost from Fenwick transfer Alicia Gerin, a junior forward. Two other new additions were former club-only players, who have decided to join the high school team. The duo include senior Anna Agboola and sophomore Wren Osler. Ponce claims that Agboola has the best power leg on the team. One other top newcomer is senior Sara Richert.
“We don’t have the experience of years past,” Ponce said. “The three new players will help. Two are capable of playing as starters and Alicia is battling for starting position.”
There are no freshmen on this year’s roster. Last year’s team included four first-year players: Ruby Gonzalez, Meredith Blatner, Tess Trinka and Erin Schrobilgen. Schrobilgen was a state qualifying cross country runner in the fall and will be counted on to start as a midfielder this season.
Before coming to OPRF, Ponce coached three years at Palatine. He has been involved as a coach at both the boys and girls programs at OPRF.
“I think I’ve won them over. As a new coach, I have big shoes to fill,” Ponce said. “Paul Wright was an established coach and built a wonderful program overall.”