Girls Volleyball: Plainfield North drops Oswego East

Updated: October 25, 2012 8:40PM

Plainfield North’s girls volleyball team is experiencing the most successful season in the short history of the program, and the Tigers nearly saw their run abruptly end in the regional semifinals against Oswego.

The Southwest Prairie champions lost the first set to the Panthers, but rallied to dominate the second to sets and advance to Thursday’s regional championship match against Oswego East.

The Tigers took full advantage of their first-ever appearance in a regional title match.

Plainfield North cruised to a 25-11, 25-14 win in the Class 4A Plainfield North Regional title game to advance to Tuesday’s Class 4A Neuqua Valley Sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. The Tigers will face Lemont, who won the Romeoville Regional with a 13-25, 25-21, 25-19 win over Lockport.

“It was the mental focus,” Plainfield North coach Tracey Marshall said. “That was the one thing that we harped on the last time you saw us, and there was a clear difference tonight. The girls bought in and came out ready, and that was the difference. We’re hoping to keep moving forward.”

Plainfield North (27-8) wasted little time getting going this time around. The Tigers jumped out to a quick 14-4 lead in the first game and were never threatened in a 25-11 win. Freshman Lauren Robeck had two kills and a block as the Tigers built a 9-5 lead in the second game. But Oswego East (15-15) hung around for a bit. The Wolves tied the set at 9-9, but then the errors started to mound. Twelve of Plainfield North’s final 16 points came on Oswego East errors.

“The wind came out of our sails a little bit,” Oswego East coach Adam Thurlwell said. “I don’t know what it was. I told them to smile, you’re playing volleyball. We never found it. I felt like they were functioning at 80 percent. We needed a jolt, and it just never came.”

Despite the loss, there were positives to Oswego East’s season. The Wolves finished third in the SPC with a 10-4 mark, the first time the program has ever won 10 conference matches. Thursday also marked their second-ever regional title appearance. The Wolves graduate five seniors.

“That is a really crappy way to go, but that being said, they were very successful,” Thurlwell said. “They hung and beat some good teams in the state. They have a lot to be proud of. They did a lot of great things. It’s tough. It’s a fresh wound.”

Meanwhile, Plainfield North is headed to uncharted territory for the first time in program history.

“It just means the program is going in the right direction,” Marshall said. “They’re training hard and they want it. When you have a team with that type of drive, the sky is the limit. It’s really up to them to see how far they can go.”

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