Oswego takes down rival East
Updated: September 6, 2011 9:22PM
There’s no doubt, they needed this.
After starting the season 0-6, the Oswego volleyball team was hungry for a win. The Panthers played like it, traveling across town to face Oswego East in both teams’ Southwest Prairie Conference opener Tuesday and pulling out a decisive 25-19, 25-14 win between two shorthanded teams.
Senior Sydney Volovski, the Panthers’ leading hitter, has been sidelined since suffering a broken wrist in the season-opening tournament at Plainfield North. The Wolves were playing their first match without starting middle, junior Nicole Burge, who suffered a high ankle sprain last Friday in practice.
“It was really important,” Oswego senior outside hitter Brittany Maertzig said of the win. “We’ve had to work through not having (Volovski).”
The 6-foot-1 Maertzig helped make sure it happened, poun ding out a match-high seven kills to go with three blocks. She also closed out the second game by serving up four straight points, including the final two on aces.
“We’re 1-6 now,” said Oswego coach Erica Lorenz. “You wouldn’t think that would be our record by how well we played. We had pretty tough competition in our pool at Plainfield North with Huntley and St. Charles North. And then our loss last week to Yorkville in three games was pretty tough, but we’ve battled all year.”
Maertzig had four kills in the opening game, which was tied at 19-all before senior setter Amy Holpuch (6 assists) closed it out with six straight service points. The run included one ace, a kill by Jenny Greenwood, a pair of kills by Maertzig and a block kill for the clincher by Maertzig.
Oswego led the second game by as many as four points several times before the hosts rallied within 11-10, but a Wolves service error followed by a pair of service aces from freshman Payton Poulter got the Panthers off and running again.
“I was happy to see (Maertzig) come alive, being aggressive in the front row, playing good defense and serving great,” said Lorenz.
Katherine Daley had five kills and setter Destiny Stuersel added three kills and seven assists for the winners.
Oswego East coach Adam Thurlwell said his team played well at times but struggled with a “tough trust issue” after he was forced to shuffle the lineup with Burge going down. Freshman Kelly Bertrand was called back up and played well.
“(Burge) is our best middle so we took our best outside and put her in the middle and moved some other people,” he said. “I was hoping they would respond. They did OK but I was hoping they would do better.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Wolves, who play Waubonsie Valley today and Plainfield East on Thursday, prompting Thurlwell to call it a “week of adversity. We’ve got to figure it out. You step up as an athlete and you play through it.”
He expects Burge to return next week. Lorenz is hoping Volovski will be back for the crosstown rivals’ next meeting.
“That’s the good thing,” said Thurlwell. “It’s a long season and you got to play everybody in conference twice.”