Oswego christens new gym with sweep of Romeoville

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As openers go, first-year Oswego volleyball coach Traci Weiss couldn’t complain too much.

The Panthers christened their shiny new digs — the remodeled Oswego High School gym — with a straight set win over visiting Romeoville in the Southwest Prairie Conference opener for both teams.

Oswego won the opening set 25-16 and led 20-10 in the second before settling for a 25-22 final.

“We’re trying to push them to the next level and we’re getting there,” said Weiss, who has had two previous stints as an assistant coach at Rosary. “I think it’s gonna take some time, but they understand the expectations.

“We could have finished better in the second game. (Romeoville) fought back into it. We’ve got to make smarter decisions.”

Setter/outside hitter Jessica Johnson, one of just three seniors on the Oswego roster, said that even though the team looks young on paper, “We have an older team now. We only had one senior last year so we have a lot of players who got varsity experience last year.

“I think we’e still reaching our potential. (Tuesday night), we played well, but there’s more that we can do.”

Johnson led the Panthers with six kills, had a pair of aces and her fourth assist of the night set up sophomore Amara Richardson for the match-clinching kill.

Junior Payton Poulter, a third-year varsity player, had five kills, freshman Holly Behrends added four and junior middle Jordan Campbell added three. Sophomore setter/right side Katelyn Burke had 10 assists as Oswego climbed to 5-2 overall.

Weiss didn’t have to use a timeout until late in the match, when the Spartans pulled within 20-13.

“She said something along the lines of ‘Let’s grow the lead’ and something about getting our butts back in the game,” Johnson said.

Back-to-back block kills by Romeoville middle Drea Chaidez cut the lead to 24-22 in the final set before Richardson put it to rest. Kurin Czerwin had a match-high eight kills for the Spartans, who also got five kills from Gianna Dever.

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