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Different court, same results : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Different court, same results
Oswego boys' volleyball team holds on to take Game 2, sweeps Oswego East

by Kristin Sharp


The Oswego East boys' volleyball team has shown improvements through the second half of Southwest Prairie Conference play, but the Wolves still did not have an answer in last Thursday's crosstown match against visiting Oswego.

The Panthers posted a nearly identical victory to the one achieved on April 15, defeating the Wolves 25-11, 25-21. Oswego is now 10-15-1 on the season and 6-4 in SPC play, while earning the No. 3 seed in the Plainfield North Regional last Thursday. The Bolingbrook Sectional was not seeded, but rather teams were seeded in each of the four regional brackets. Oswego East is seeded No. 5 in the seven-team regional, with Plainfield North and Bolingbrook earning the top two seeds, respectively.

"We're certainly making sure we're not setting our sights too far. We still have three really big tests," Oswego head coach Zach Splitt said.

Last Thursday, Oswego established an early 5-2 lead in Game 1, which prompted a timeout by Oswego East head coach Noel Soto. Oswego East committed two early serving errors, and Oswego junior hitter Shane Bara recorded a kill before senior Hunter Bowman's ace serve gave the Panthers a 9-5 lead.

Bowman aced one more, and consecutive kills by junior Zach Aceret and senior Charles Morrell pushed Oswego out to a 13-6 lead.

Oswego East senior Zach Maroney had a well-placed tip for a Wolves' sideout, but the Wolves' block attempt on a Maroney kill landed out of bounds for a 15-8 Oswego lead.

Aceret scored another point for Oswego, but a serving error and an errant kill allowed the Wolves to pull within seven (10-17).

Oswego utilized a solid front row defense, with a block from junior David Clausen and another from Morrell, which extended Oswego's lead 20-10.

"They were super hyped for this game and it's mental with these players. It's the crosstown rivalry, and I could tell they were trying to make the big kills and we had a lot of unforced errors," Soto said. "We can't run an offense when Jonathan (Bornamann) is forced to run outside, and then they set up."

Oswego East secured a point from senior Beau Bruecher on a tip kill for a 21-11 score, but the Wolves committed a serving error and a blocking error, and the match ended with a pair of ace serves by Morrell.

"We're doing a much better job serving, especially, but we've also done a very good job focusing on things to hold on to our serve," Splitt said. "Our defense is getting a lot better - all phases; we're blocking better too."

Morrell scored Oswego's first point of Game 2 before junior Nick Richard aced his serve, but three Panther miscues created a 4-2 Wolves' lead. Clausen's kill gave Oswego a sideout, but the match was tied two more times until Oswego East senior Brian Densberger aced his serve for a 7-6 lead.

Morrell scored a point for Oswego before Richard came up with a big Panther kill and tied the game at 9. Bara had another Panther point for a 13-12 Oswego lead, and the score continued to see-saw with two more lead changes.

"We played better in the second game, and that's something we can build on and move forward," Soto said.

Oswego was called for a carry to tie the game at 16, but Oswego East committed two errors, and junior Blake Kearby's ace put Oswego in an 18-16 lead and prompted a Wolves' timeout.

Although Oswego East would never reclaim the lead, the Wolves battled through the closing points. Maroney scored on a kill for a 21-20 score, but Oswego senior John Stark responded with a Panther kill. Morrell ended the night with an attack that found the Wolves' floor.

"They made some changes in the second set and I wanted to get some different looks. When I do that, they somehow see that as a sign that they should take their foot off the gas. We have too few guys on our roster to make those kinds of conscious decisions. We have to stay in our mindset and execute all the way around."

Oswego will close out the home schedule by hosting Minooka today, Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. before visiting Plainfield North next Tuesday. The regular season ends on May 22 at Romeoville.

"We have a much better idea of what we're going up against, and it's all part of our learning curve. You can look at our season in terms of lineups and we're in our third phase, which I think is serving us the best," Splitt said.

Oswego East will host Plainfield Central today, Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. to close out its home schedule. The Wolves travel to the IMSA Invite on Saturday before visiting Plainfield South next Tuesday and Minooka on May 22 to end the regular season.

Both Oswego and Oswego East will be part of the Plainfield North Regional, which begins on Memorial Day, May 26.

No. 5 Oswego East will face No. 4 Plainfield East on May 26 at 5 p.m., while No. 3 Oswego will play No. 6 Romeoville at 7 p.m.

The winner of the Plainfield East/Oswego East match will advance to play No. 1 Plainfield North on May 27 in the regional semifinal. The winner of the Bolingbrook/Lemont match will face the winner of the Oswego/Romeoville match in the second semifinal game on May 27, with the regional final taking place on May 28.

Notes: Oswego East improved to 5-16 with a 25-20, 25-19 win over Romeoville Tuesday. Senior Brian Densberger had five kills and three blocks with an assist, while Bornemann had 13 assists in the win. The Panthers are now 2-9 in SPC action.

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