Joliet West takes big first stepJoliet West celebrates a victory over Plainfield East in the Benet regional at Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 24, 2011 9:12PM
The opening match Monday night in the Class 4A Benet Regional was an important step in the growth of Joliet West’s volleyball program.
“We have come such a long way from last year, it’s amazing,’’ said Courtney Robinson, one of only three seniors on the team. “I think we have a lot more fire in us.’’
Joliet West displayed that competitiveness in a 25-13, 25-21 victory over Plainfield East that earned the Tigers a spot in Tuesday’s semifinals against top-seeded Benet.
“It’s a nice step in the right direction,’’ Joliet West coach Alan Mart said. “We’re not making as many of the same mistakes as early in the season. We still have a long way to go as a program, but we’re moving in the right direction.’’
Joliet West (11-23) was led by Robinson (8 kills, 10 digs), Kailey Foster (2 kills, 8 digs, 3 blocks), Elexis Coleman (2 kills, 5 blocks, 4 aces) and Katie Brick (14 assists).
“We came to play,’’ Robinson said. “We came out ready to go.’’
Plainfield East closed the gap to 13-9 in the first game after Joliet West opened a 9-3 lead, but a 6-1 run gave the Tigers a 19-10 advantage. East errors made it 24-13 before and a block by Coleman ended the opener.
East led most of Game 2 until two Bengals errors and two kills by Robinson turned a 19-all tie into a 23-19 West lead. A net serve and a kill by Foster made West a winner.
“When teams push back, we have to learn to push back also,’’ Robinson said. “This time we actually stayed with them.’’
“Throughout the season, we’re able to get to 16-16, 17-17, but we didn’t know how to win,’’ Mart said. “They took the lead in Game 2 and maintained it, and we came back. That was huge for us.’’
Mart understands West is a huge underdog against Benet.
“All we’re looking to do is play well, give them a match, make them earn their points,’’ Mart said. “That’s all we can do.’’
Joliet Central faces West Aurora in the first semifinal at Benet.
Class 4A Lockport Regional
Bolingbrook 25-25, Plainfield South 17-19: Bolingbrook advanced to the semifinal. Allison Waldvogel led Plainfield South with seven digs, five kills and five service points. Jessica Sanchez added seven assists for the Cougars.
Class 4A Plainfield Central Regional
Plainfield North 25-25, East Aurora 9-13: Plainfield North prevailed in the quarterfinal.
Class 3A Manteno Regional
Peotone 25-25, Kankakee 21-14: Robin Osmolski and Kayce Nagel pounded five kills each for Peotone (12-15-2) in the quarterfinal.
Class 2A Coal City Regional
Beecher 16-25-25, Reed-Custer 25-14-16: Reed-Custer fell in the quarterfinal.
Class 2A Fieldcrest Regional
Dwight 25-25, Prairie Central 19-23: Jamie Stanton’s 14 assists and 10 service points guided Dwight (14-12) in the quarterfinal. Aly Ferrari added eight digs for the Trojans and Hayley Sparrow registered six kills.
Class 1A St. Anne Regional
Gardner-South Wilmington 25-25, Luther East 0-0: Gardner-South Wilmington won via forfeit.
Contributing: Josh Krockey