A serious contender : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|A serious contender|
|Oswego boys' volleyball team sweeps Wolves in two games to start 2-0 in SPC|
|by Kristin Sharp|
The Oswego boys' volleyball team has targeted a Southwest Prairie Conference championship this season and the Panthers began their quest for a title with a 2-0 start last week.
The Panthers (9-2-1, 2-0 SPC) followed a two-game sweep over Plainfield East on April 3 with a decisive 25-7, 25-19 win over Oswego East on their home court last Thursday.
"They came out ready to play and that's what we really wanted from them," Oswego head coach Amie West said. "We've really been working on finishing games and they really did that in the first game.
"They were ready to go. It's always an exciting game when you play Oswego East - it's always emotional - and they came out and took care of business."
Oswego took command in Game 1 with an 8-2 lead out of the gate as Oswego East's only points came on a successful attack by junior middle hitter Ryan Passini and an error on the Panthers.
Oswego spread out its attack as senior Kevin Oppe, senior Freddy Miller and junior Quentin Kovac all recorded kills and junior libero Chaz Im served two aces.
Following an Oswego East timeout, Passini came up with another kill for the Wolves, but several errors kept the Panthers rolling to a 15-3 lead.
"It's a very well-rounded team," West said. "We're not just about Freddy swinging at every ball. Kevin, Tommy (Schabinger) and Quentin are all doing a fantastic job. Boyer (Konfeind) runs the offense. Without him, we can't hit the way we are. He's doing a great job."
Oswego junior Trevor Hamman stepped up with a kill, Miller's attack went unanswered and the Panthers built a 20-7 lead on a kill from senior Brandon Garcia. Schabinger had a well-placed tip for a 23-7 lead and a bad pass by the Wolves sent the ball out of bounds for match point. Garcia's tipped ball sealed the 25-7 win.
"The guys came out a little flat in the first game," said Oswego East head coach Jim Mueller, whose team fell to 3-9-1 and 0-2 in SPC play with the loss. "It was just one of those nights where we couldn't get any breaks. We were hitting up in the ceiling a lot. That's stuff we actually work on. Our gym is really high. That's something we're going to work on because we have problems with it.
"I give credit to Oswego, but we beat ourselves in the first game. We had numerous service errors and passing was not good. Blocking I was happy with, but when you can't pass, you can't get into your offensive sets. That's what hurt us. We couldn't get our offense running."
Oswego East junior Adam Reier opened Game 2 with a kill and Passini followed with his own successful attack while an out-of-bounds kill by the Panthers pushed the Wolves out to a 3-0 lead.
Oswego battled back and tied the game on Schabinger's kill, but the Wolves kept pace with the Panthers and led 6-4 before consecutive kills by Miller and Oppe once again tied the scoreboard at 6.
Kovac's tip gave Oswego a 9-8 lead, and the Wolves were never able to regain momentum in the game. Oswego East committed four straight errors to trail 13-9 before Reier's well-timed block gave the Wolves a sideout.
Oswego East called Miller's attack out of bounds, but the ball landed inside the right corner to give Oswego a 15-9 lead and prompt a Wolves' timeout. Oswego turned a 15-10 lead into a 21-13 lead on two tipped balls and misplays by the Wolves.
Oswego East senior Kyle Weiskircher scored a point for the Wolves, who trailed 22-15, and a pair of Oswego errors put Oswego East within five (22-17). A service error on the Wolves created match point for the Panthers, who capped off the two-game sweep with Miller's final kill.
"We were loud," Miller said. "We weren't letting anything hit the floor and just putting it down. We had more intensity. In the second game we got more relaxed after beating them 25-7, but all in all we played pretty good."
Kornfeind finished with 19 assists, Schabinger had three kills and Garcia had two kills and three blocks. Miller had nine kills and three blocks, Kovac had four kills and Oppe finished with five kills and three ace serves. Im finished with a team-best 10 digs.
"Chaz has been doing an excellent job as libero. When the ball comes over the net, we don't have to worry. We know he'll be there whether it's a pass or a dig. It's what we look for in that position and he's taken over as a junior, coming in and do an outstanding job."
For Oswego East, senior Blake Izzo had seven kills while Passini made six. The Wolves will travel to Plainfield Central today, Thursday, for a 5:30 p.m. match following Tuesday's match against Romeoville. (Results were unavailable at press time.) Oswego East will host Plainfield South next Tuesday.
"I'm happy with their attitude. They know they got beat, but they're not down on each other like they have in the past. That's a credit to them," Mueller said. "We beat North for the first time in our program's history for one game. We didn't win the match, but we fought hard. Tonight, we just didn't have it.
Oswego entered the St. Charles East Tournament last Saturday without a loss in the record books to date, and one tied two-game match with West Aurora. The Panthers finished 3-2 on the day to place third overall.
"Our confidence is building. I feel like we're an extremely talented team. As long as we keep playing as a team, we are going to continue to stay in first place in conference," West said.
Oswego opened pool play with a 25-19, 25-20 win over Edwardsville as Kornfeind had six digs and 12 assists, Im had five digs, Garcia had two aces and two blocks, Miller finished with six kills and five blocks and Oppe had three kills and three blocks.
The Panthers faced West Chicago and lost 25-22, 23-25, 10-15. Kornfeind had 20 assists, Im made 13 digs and Miller had six blocks and 15 kills in the loss.
Oswego finished 1-1 in pool play and advanced to meet Elgin in championship play where the Panthers defeated the Maroons 25-12, 25-16. Oppe had five blocks, Miller had nine kills and two aces and Kornfeind had two kills, two blocks and 12 assists.
Oswego lost to Zion-Benton 22-25, 25-23, 23-25 to move into the third-place match. Against Zion-Benton, Kornfeind had 11 digs and 33 assists, Im made eight digs, Schabinger had three kills, Garcia made four kills, Miller had 11 kills and four blocks along with 12 digs and Kovac had eight digs and five kills while Oppe had 12 kills and three aces.
In the third-place match, Oswego faced West Chicago for a second time and avenged the pool play loss with a 25-19, 25-23 win.
Miller made six kills and three blocks, Oppe had four kills and two blocks and Garcia had a pair of kills. Senior Danny McGuire had two digs and three aces, Im made 12 digs, Schabinger had five kills and Kornfeind had four blocks and 16 assists.
Oswego traveled to Neuqua Valley on Monday and lost 23-25, 26-28. Kornfeind had 19 assists and 13 digs, Hamman and Garcia had three blocks each, Miller had seven kills and three blocks, Oppe had six blocks and Kovac made four kills.
SPC play resumed on Tuesday against Plainfield Central, but results were unavailable at press time. The Panthers will visit Minooka today, Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. before hosting Plainfield North next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.