Oak Park-River Forest plays Fenwick for charity
Oak Park-River Forest's Max Menzies (12) struggles for the ball with St. Ignatius' A.J. Swarm (25) on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012 in Oak Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:56AM
OAK PARK — There is a more than a rivalry at stake when Fenwick’s boys soccer team plays at neighboring Oak Park-River Forest Friday night.
The now-traditional nonconference match between the Oak Park schools, which kicks off at 7 p.m., will be used to solicit donations for the Oak Park-River Forest Area Walk-in Ministry, a non-profit organization that provides food, housing, transportation and employment to its clients. The organization is based out of the First United Church of Oak Park.
“Both teams are excited to play each other and create awareness for a good local organization,” OPRF coach Paul Wright said.
OPRF won last year’s game 4-2, but Friday’s contest is the day before the first round of the Pepsi Showdown. The ninth annual tournament is the Chicago area’s biggest of the season, with opening games Saturday at Lyons Township North campus in La Grange.
The Huskies (1-3-1), a No. 15 seed, open against West Chicago at 1 p.m., while 12th-seeded Fenwick (2-2) plays Huntley at 9 a.m.
For OPRF senior defender Max Menzies, Friday night’s contest is his third charity game since joining the varsity.
“I like it because the whole school comes out to support us,” Menzies said. “Everyone’s families and younger siblings come out. It feels like a Fire, Chelsea or Barcelona (pro) game.”
The all-Oak Park battle features neighbor against neighbor and even former youth and club soccer teammates. When they were younger, Menzies played with Fenwick seniors Mike Nowicki and Dylan Kramer. He was a teammate with Nowicki on the River Forest Rapids and both played together on Eclipse Select.
The three still stay in contact.
“We joke around about who is going to win, what the score is going to be,” Menzies said. “We talk trash, but not in a mean way.”
Fenwick’s top player is Marquette-bound forward Jack Alberts, who scored nine goals and 12 assists last season while being name all-Catholic League with Nowicki (10 goals last season).
Menzies is looking forward to defending Alberts in what should develop as a key matchup.
“He is really quick. He’s great with ball control and he’s a really great player,” Menzies said of Alberts.
The Huskies’ biggest task heading into this week was ending its three-game losing streak. OPRF was slated to host Glenbard West at 6 p.m. Tuesday in its West Suburban Silver opener.
OPRF has been outscored 9-3 in losses to Larkin, St. Ignatius and Young.