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Starting point : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
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Oswego volleyball team falls to Lockport, 2-0

by Kristin Sharp


After three weeks of practice, first-year head coach Zach Splitt wasn't expecting the kind of results that he saw Monday from the Oswego boys' volleyball team.

The Panthers hosted the Porters in the season opener and hung with the visiting team through the early points of the night, but errors quickly snowballed against Oswego and turned into a 25-13, 25-12 loss.

"From an evaluation standpoint, it's good to see them in match play. We're doing a lot of positional training and making sure they understand how I want them to play," Splitt said. "Using this as an exhibitional type of match, it gives me an opportunity to try new things and more things around and see how they react to a game situation. This was not near the result we wanted in any measure, but it does help me in terms of figuring out which guys I can put where and which guys are going to thrive in certain situations.

"We're certainly going to learn from this. Hopefully we won't dwell on it, but we'll learn from it as we go," Splitt added. "This wasn't my team tonight. I don't know these guys on the floor. I look forward to exercising the demons."

Although Oswego took an early 3-2 lead in Game 1 off a block from senior setter Hunter Bowman, Lockport tied the match and never looked back, rattling off a 5-0 run and holding a 10-5 lead on the scoreboard.

Oswego struggled to keep the ball inbounds and allowed three ace serves in the opening game. Junior hitter Zach Aceret scored a point to help the Panthers dig out of a hole, trailing 14-11, but a serving error followed and Lockport successfully blocked Oswego's next attack for a 16-11 swing.

Lockport used the momentum to lead 20-12 before Splitt called a timeout. Aceret scored a late point, but the Porters sealed the win on an errant Panther hit.

"Effort is normally never an issue with my teams - and this team included - but we're making errors that I haven't seen before. We were reverting to some of the errors that we tend to. It's going to be my job and their job moving forward to take things they've learned in practice individually and applying it to a team setting. We were not able to do that tonight. We reverted back in terms of our errors. We were just spinning our wheels for stretches of points at a time," Splitt said.

Oswego junior middle Nick Richard scored the opening point in Game 2 and senior John Stark came off the bench for two more points. Oswego's defense, which utilized a pair of rotating liberos in senior Zack Donati and junior Brandon Ismiel, was scrappy and relentless on the Lockport attack. Junior hitter Shane Bara had a strong dig to prevent a Lockport point for a 7-4 Porter lead.

Lockport inched ahead until Bara's kill created a sideout and a 12-6 score. Senior Charles Morrell and Stark added points for Oswego and Aceret came up with a block for a 19-10 score, but Oswego could never catch up on the scoreboard.

Aceret scored one more late point before a bad dig in the back row gave Lockport its final point in the win.

Oswego spent the rest of the week at practice before Saturday's West Aurora Invite at 8:30 a.m.

"In terms of the beginning of the season, this is the best a coach can get having a match on a Monday, see where everyone stands, and now we have a solid week of practice before we have a full day on Saturday," Splitt said.

Oswego will open Southwest Prairie Conference play on Tuesday at Plainfield South at 5:30 p.m.

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