Wolves find spark in Game 2 : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Wolves find spark in Game 2|
|Oswego girls' volleyball team can't hold on to early lead, fall 2-1 to Oswego East|
|by Kristin Sharp|
Falling into a 9-0 deficit to start Game 1, the night certainly wasn't going well for the Oswego East girls' volleyball team in Tuesday night's Volley for a Cure event at Oswego.
The Wolves not only lost Game 1, but trailed 6-0 to start Game 2 as the Panthers appeared to be headed for a Southwest Prairie Conference sweep over their crosstown rivals.
Instead, Oswego East head coach Adam Thurlwell made a few tweaks to his lineup and the Wolves rallied for a 15-25, 25-23, 25-19 win over the Panthers to improve to 7-10 overall and 5-4 in SPC play.
"We talked earlier in the year that there's just some games we need a spark. We changed stuff in two and three and I told them, 'Guys, this is your chance to show that spark,'" Thurlwell said. "They wanted to send our seniors away with a nice win, and getting a win over Oswego is always nice. It's not even just Oswego; it's a big conference win."
Oswego moves to 14-9 overall and 6-3 in the league heading into a key conference game at Minooka today, Thursday.
The night opened with a big effort from Oswego senior Jessica Johnson behind the service line as she rattled off eight consecutive serves including two aces to jumpstart the Panthers to a 9-0 lead.
Oswego East scored points on ace serves by juniors Kelly Bertrand and Rachel Vander Wagen while senior Ashlee Williams' kill created a 10-6 game in favor of Oswego. Two net errors by the Wolves kept the Panthers in control of the game, 14-8, before a pair of ace serves from junior Payton Poulter created an 18-10 game.
Bertrand (16 kills) tried to keep the Wolves alive with three consecutive points for an 18-13 score, but following an Oswego timeout, the Panthers rattled off four straight points including a well-placed attack from sophomore Katelyn Burke.
The Wolves committed three errors to close out the game in favor of the Panthers.
Oswego put Johnson back to serve to start Game 2, and the result was the same as the previous game with the Panthers rolling out a 6-0 lead before Bertrand's tip kill gave the Wolves a sideout. Johnson finished with five aces in the game.
"It'll go to No. 6," Thurlwell said of Bertrand. "I trust her. She's such a diverse hitter. If you know where we're sending her, Kelly will find a way to beat you. I trust Kelly Bertrand all the way. We like to go to her, but when it's tight especially."
Despite digging a sizeable hole to start the game, Oswego East forged ahead and used a pair of errors on Oswego to turn a 7-4 game into a 7-point tie.
Freshman Holly Behrends scored a point for Oswego and Poulter followed with an ace serve for a 14-9 score, prompting an Oswego East timeout. The Panthers' lead swelled to 16-10 before a series of errors gave the Wolves some momentum on the court. Oswego East pulled within two, 16-14, before Oswego head coach Traci Weiss called a timeout, but a passing error and a mistake at the net tied the game at 16.
"We switched an attacker or two, a passer or two and we kept the setter in the entire time," Thurlwell said of his team's adjustments. "We took a little bit different approach. I have some girls who are talented and need to be on the court, so I have to find ways for them to be on the court. Games two and three we tried something else and it worked. That's why at practice, we practice a lot of different things. They're used to that adversity."
The score see-sawed over the next few minutes with tie scores at 18, 19 and 20 points. Johnson's ace serve was followed by a kill from junior Jordan Campbell, and Thurlwell called his team to the sideline.
The Panthers' 22-20 lead was short-lived, however, as three miscues awarded the Wolves a 23-22 lead. Williams (seven kills) laid down a successful attack before an Oswego hit sailed out of bounds for the 25-23 Oswego East win.
"We had a mental breakdown on our side," Weiss said. "We've been working a lot on it in practice and they did not execute. Oswego East played better than us and they wanted it more than us.
"I think they were ready physically. Mentally, we have challenges. Some individuals on our team don't respond real well to pressure and I think that's what happened. Our serving was not good. Our passing was not good. Our blocking was not good. We made a lot of unforced errors. ... We made way too many mistakes to win," Weiss continued.
Unlike the previous two games, Oswego East played point for point with Oswego in the decisive third game.
Bertrand's kill tied the score at 1, a passing error on the Panthers awarded Oswego East a 2-1 lead, and the Wolves never trailed on the scoreboard en route to the 25-19 victory.
Vander Wagen was good for a pair of aces and Oswego East junior Elyssa Lavigne had a nice tip kill for a 7-3 lead. Oswego called a timeout trailing 12-7, but committed two hitting errors and a net violation out of the break for a 15-7 Wolves' lead.
Oswego East had made its own mistakes too, with a carry and two serving errors allowing Oswego to pull within six, 17-11. The Panthers had a strong chance to gain momentum when they pulled within three (20-17) on a line violation by the Wolves, but a serving error and a bad tip into the net allowed Oswego East to extend its lead to five (22-17).
Bertrand scored two late points for the Wolves to create a 24-19 score, and Oswego could not dig up the ball after an Oswego East attack as the ball sailed out of bounds to seal the Wolves' win.
"That's just us having better discipline. The first game was sloppy and we picked it up in the second and third game," Bertrand said. "We switched our lineup up a lot. We tried new things and we're one team that is able to move around and play together no matter what. It's nice."
Oswego: Last Thursday, the Panthers topped Romeoville, 25-13, 25-22, in conference action in Romeoville.
Johnson had six aces, four assists, seven digs, Behrends had five kills, seven digs and one block, Emily Prystash added one ace and 12 digs while Campbell had six kills and a block for the Panthers.
Oswego resumes conference action today, Thursday, at Minooka at 5:30 p.m. On Tuesday, the Panthers are at Plainfield East for a 5:30 p.m. league contest.
Oswego East: Last Thursday, Plainfield Central defeated the Wolves, 25-12, 27-29, 25-15, at Oswego East in conference action.
Kelly Bertrand posted 17 digs, three aces, two blocks and eight kills, Hailey Aguilar had 20 digs, Lauren Schultz posted five kills and Nicole Bertrand and Jaiden Augustine each finished with 10 assists for Oswego East.
Oswego East resumes conference action today, Thursday, at Plainfield East at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Wolves will be a part of Antioch's Invitational, which begins at 9 a.m.
On Tuesday, Oswego East will host Minooka at 5:30 p.m.