Boys Volleyball: Minooka outlasts Plainfield North
Updated: May 17, 2012 9:40PM
Minooka defeated Plainfield North for the fourth time this season Thursday in Plainfield to complete a perfect Southwest Prairie Conference season. But neither side was complaining too much about the outcome.
Rick Bishop had nine kills and a block, Nick Vertin had five kills, 6-6 junior middle Maalik Walker added two kills and three blocks and junior setter Phil Hannon added 22 assists and two blocks as No. 7 Minooka won 25-21, 25-23.
Minooka (32-2, 14-0) broke a 10-10 tie in Game 1 with a 7-2 run and hung on after Plainfield North pulled within 23-20, but Game 2 saw the hosts force a tie at 22-22 on a kill by sophomore Doug Aremka before a Walker kill and a block off a North defender gave the Indians some breathing room.
“It was a very intense, emotional game,” Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said.
“But, oh my gosh, I absolutely loved watching them play,” she added. “When I get to step back…of course, you’re still constantly coaching, ‘What are we doing? What can we do here in this situation?’ and looking at the other team and their hitters.
“But when I get to step back for minute and watch them play together, when they’re helping each other out and they’re making great saves and digs, making kills, blocks, it’s really fun for me to see because they have so much potential.”
Minooka is the top seed at the Romeoville sectional and could see Plainfield North again in the sectional finals if they can get past an injury-riddled Lincoln-Way West or Providence in a regional final and Belleville East in the sectional semifinal, and the Tigers can get past Plainfield Central, Plainfield South and O’Fallon, the top seed in the Edwardsville regional.
“From here on out, every play of every game of every match matters,” Grzetich said. “I do feel like they know that and understand that, because they definitely were playing that way tonight. Hopefully, we can continue that kind of mentality and that level of play. That’s my hope for them.
“I hope I do have many more heart-racing moments like that,” she added. “Because that means we’re still playing and we’re doing well. I’ll deal with that any day.”
Plainfield North (22-10, 9-5), which had a six-match winning streak snapped, got nine kills from 5-8 senior Eric Rash, seven kills and two blocks from 5-10 Jake Barber and 23 assists, two kills and a block from 5-9 setter Matt Guerrieri .
“I think we were giving away about a foot at each position,” Guerrieri joked. “That’s our fourth time playing them and that’s our fourth time losing to them. We want to win, but they always have it out to get us, too. That’s how it is every match we play them.”
But Guerrieri likes the progress Plainfield North has made since the beginning of the season when it was coping with the loss of leading attacker Peter Bednarz to a separated shoulder and Barber to a severe ankle sprain.
“Now that we have everybody back healthy, we just have to keep going from here,” he said. “Now it’s time for the state tournament where we hope to see them again. This is the first time Neuqua Valley isn’t in our regional. We’re kind of looking forward to that.
“It’s not the perfect finish to the regular season we wanted, but we’re still getting better,” Guerrieri added. “We haven’t hit our peak yet. I’m hoping we haven’t hit our peak yet.”