By Brad Spencer
A new head coach, one highly-regarded player and a slew of young and talented players should make for an interesting season for the OPRF boys water polo team.
Former assistant coach John Rapp has moved into the head coaching position this year, replacing Tom Nickels. Rapp, who played at Purdue University, has just two starters back from last season in Troy Williams and Sean Obrecht. Williams is regarded as one of the top centers in the state, while Obrecht returns as OPRF’s starting goalkeeper.
“Troy is a very effective two-meter player and driver,” said Rapp of the team’s co-captain. “He is also an excellent two-meter defender.”
Rapp hopes to get as much scoring production as possible out of attackers Nate Johnson, Marc Hallman, Nathan Pimental and Dylan Reynolds. Johnson is new to the program, while Hallman and Pimental and Reynolds slip into starting roles this season.
“I would like to see us win our conference tournament and challenge Fenwick for the sectional championship (if put in their sectional),” said Rapp of his expectations this season. “If we look to improve our fundamentals, play tough/smart defense, and limit our turnovers on offense, we should be a dangerous team.”
Last season, the Huskies, plagued with injuries, fell to Lyons Township in the West Suburban Conference championship and Fenwick in the sectional championship.
OPRF heads into Fenwick’s Dan Lynch Tournament this week ranked 11th in the state by illpolo.com.
OPRF girls water polo
The OPRF girls water polo team is focused on improving on last season’s 15-17 overall record. Returning starter Katie Appell and the Huskies are already busy trying to make their progress a reality.
Appell, a sophomore, scored a total of 23 goals in four games last weekend as the Huskies went 2-2 at the Northside Prep Tournament. Appell scored eight of OPRF’s 11 goals in an 11-5 win over Hinsdale South and four in a 9-7 victory over Marian.
With just three returners back from last season’s team in Appell and goalkeeper Zoe Erickson, OPRF head coach Elizabeth Perez will rely heavily on newcomers Samantha Robbins, Elizabeth Williams, Kjerstin Anderson, Helen Thomason, Hannah Legatzke and Rebecca Robinson.
Legatzke, a junior, had five steals in the win over Hinsdale South, while Erickson racked up 14 saves.