Romeoville rebounds to top Plainfield EastRomeoville's Rianna Wagner (5) saves the ball, at Thursday night's game between Plainfield East and Romeoville. | Paul James Bergstrom~For Sun-Times Media
The match didn’t have the energy level Romeoville volleyball coach Melanie Rellstab wanted from start to finish, but the Spartans still rebounded from a Tuesday loss to Southwest Prairie Conference power Minooka with a two-game victory Thursday over Plainfield East.
Romeoville opened a 16-6 lead in the first game en route to a 25-15 victory. The host Spartans rallied after a slow start in Game 2 for a 25-21 win in front of an appreciative crowd.
“Overall, I was happy with the way the offense ran, a lot of good touches,’’ Rellstab said. “I thought we did a really good job covering when they blocked us. They got a lot of blocks on us. We did a really good job covering each other.’’
Rellstab called the 26-24, 25-18 loss to Minooka “the best we ever played against Minooka.’’ Romeoville didn’t hold Plainfield East to 20 points total in the match as Rellstab wanted, but “a win is a win,’’ she said.
Romeoville (11-9, 3-2) was led by Rianna Wagner (3 kills, 6 digs), Nicole Ramaglia (5 kills), Jaelin Mankins (5 kills), Latasha Fizer (3 kills), Lauren Chavez (9 assists) and Najoua Alioualla (3 aces).
Plainfield East was unable to return three serves from Alioualla late in the first game before it ended with an East error. Romeoville fell behind 4-0 and 10-5 in the second game.
“The energy level has always been a problem for us,’’ Wagner said. “I think we went into the second game thinking it wasn’t going to be hard. We need to go into the game thinking it’s a tough team.’’
Game 2 was tied at 14 when Romeoville went ahead for good 16-14 with Chavez serving. A Fizer kill made it 17-14 before an emphatic kill by Fizer gave Romeoville a 19-16 lead.
“Once we get those good hits, we feed off of that,’’ Wagner said. “That’s what we need, the energy level.’’
Plainfield East stayed in both games thanks to Marissa Villarrubia (7 kills, 4 blocks), Deni Owikoti (6 kills, 6 blocks), Lauren Houbolt (9 assists, 5 digs), Gabby Williams (3 kills) and Allison Bowbin (5 assists).
“We didn’t win, but in my eyes it’s stepping up,’’ Plainfield East coach Kathleen Mixan said. “I’m OK with that loss. The mental is a huge part of the game. That part has definitely stepped up.’’