Oswego East plays tall in three-game win over Minooka

SHARE Oswego East plays tall in three-game win over Minooka
SHARE Oswego East plays tall in three-game win over Minooka

It wasn’t David vs. Goliath, but there was a noticeable difference between the two volleyball teams Tuesday when Minooka and Oswego East met for their Southwest Prairie Conference matchup.

The Indians feature three 6-2 players in the lineup. The shorter Wolves might have one 6-footer, but put together a strong defensive effort and good passing game to claim a 26-28, 25-20, 25-19 decision.

“Being smart will win you more games than going out there and trying to smash it (over the net) every time,” said senior outside hitter Kelly Bertrand, who led the Wolves (8-5, 3-2) with 15 kills.

Bertrand, who is “5-7, on a good day,” had three kills off well-placed dinks over the net and three more from the back row.

“Lauren (Schultz) and I are outside and when we get to the front row, she goes line a lot and got a lot of kills there tonight,” Bertrand said. “(Coach Adam) Thurlwell has talked to me about being more versatile, especially going against tall teams like that who try to double block the outside. He told me to, ‘Focus on your spot.’”

Minooka (9-3, 4-1) rallied from deficits of 20-16 and 22-20 to claim the opening game. The Indians trailed early in both the second and third games but couldn’t pull off the comeback.

“(Minooka) was struggling to find their rhythm, but credit us, that’s us taking them out of rhythm,” Thurlwell said.

Schultz and middle Rachel VanderWagen each had five kills and one block for the Wolves while junior Ginger Perinar led the Indians with 11 kills and two blocks.

Both teams were plagued by service errors, Minooka with 13 for the match and Oswego East 11.

“I told (Minooka coach) Chris (Hoelscher) afterward, I don’t really want to play this missed serve game with you,” Thurlwell said. “At one point I subbed in a girl and said, ‘Just get it over the net, underhand, if you have to.’”

The Wolves got 19 digs from libero Hailey Aguilar and 10 from Bertrand and setter Katie Ayers had 22 assists.

The Wolves did get three aces from Sarah Schultz and two each from Aguilar, Ayers and Alexa Jardenil.

“Obviously, we both struggled with serves, but they passed a heckuva lot better than we did and they were in system most of the time,” Hoelscher said. “When a team is in system, the setters can run wherever they want. Defensively, you’re kind of at their mercy.

“So as big as we are, we can’t just rely on that. We’ve got to do all the little things, too.”

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