After a strong win against Plainfield North on Thursday, October 3rd, the East girls’ freshman A volleyball team took on Plainfield South that following Tuesday the 8th, losing in 2 sets.
The girls had a great record going into the game against the Cougars, they were 19 and 1 overall. They now have two losses and are planning to keep it at that. However to do that the team has to work together and get prepared for the games to come.
Freshman right side hitter Mikayla Fitzgerald was energetic the entire game. Whether it was on the court or on the bench she was heard. She helped keep the Wolves in the game and not fall behind.
“Having that bond with your teammates is so important. You have to have that bond because sometimes people will try and overthrow you and set you off but it’s a team sport so you gotta make sure you get along with your teammates no matter what your differences are, especially against a tough opponent like Plainfield Central. We were down for most of the first set, so we had to have each others back and get ourselves back into the game,” Fitzgerald said.
The game was a tough loss for the Wolves. It started off strong by both teams. Freshman outside hitter Megan Maier had a great dig saving the ball from hitting the ground in the first rally. It ended by being a point for the Cougars but Maier was not happy and blocked the Cougars in the next rally quickly tying it up.
Maier contributed a lot in the first few plays by also having a spike and an ace to put the score at 5-4.
“We all played when we were younger, so getting an ace used to be no big deal. Now as we get to higher levels it means alot in the game, especially in that moment because it put us ahead,” Maier said.
Fitzgerald had a killer spike to help put the Wolves up 6-5 but this didn’t last long. The Cougars went on a scoring streak by getting six straight points until it was answered by freshman outside hitter Kaylee Born getting two aces in a row.
“It was important there that we stopped them from continuing to score. I’m usually nervous when I serve but it was good to land two shots like that in a row,” Born said.
The Wolves and Cougars kept up a close score with East trailing by a few for most of the game. The Wolves found a way to tie it at 18. Then a timeout was called by the other team so they could plan and calm down. Fitzgerald took this opportunity to hype up her team and keep them in the game, and they were up until the end.
“I have that energy and I have to be hyped up. I have to hype my teammates up because once they go down they dont get back up. Tying the game up at 18 was game changing moment because then we had momentum,” Fitzgerald said.
After a hard fought game by both teams, the score ended at 22-25 and the Cougars took the first set. The match isn’t wasn’t over yet. The Wolves weren’t going down without a fight. They did though, have to make some changes in the few minutes they had between sets.
“We talk about some of the things we want to see fixed and we make sure that they have that energy to carry them into that next game. In volleyball if you dont have alot of energy you move slower on the court so it’s just getting them their energy back. They are pretty good about bringing it themselves, sometimes they just need a reminder to get them going,” Coach Jackie Charlett said.
The Wolves came out strong with tons of energy by scoring 4 straight points to start off the second set. Freshman right side hitter Sevina Trujillo was the starting server and created a few of those points off of aces.
“Once you get a point it makes you feel like you can do it again and you are hyped because you just got that point for your team. At that moment I was in a little bit of a groove,” Trujillo said.
The Wolves were looking really strong in the second half. Born, Trujillo, Fitzgerald, and Maier were contributing with many sets to the right teammate, spikes and communication to help keep them in the lead. East went on multiple scoring runs. One which Maier created and had a killer spike to put them up 7-2.
“You need to go in a lot more intense because before the game starts you don’t really know the team but in the second set now you know how you have to beat them. There has to be a lot more focus,” Maier said.
Freshman libero Bella Rivera-Tirado played a huge role in game. She kept the ball from hitting the ground and helped them gain a high of lead of 17-11.
“It was important then that we take the lead. Our attitude was really to just push and always get a lead ahead. Don’t be nice on them, try to be really mean. We say throw it down their throats, we are OE and we aren’t going anywhere,” Rivera said.
As the libero Rivera digs the ball and passes to the setter to create a scoring opportunity. Rivera was coming off of injury but still managed to help the Wolves maintain a decent lead for most of the game.
“I feel it is a lot of responsibility [as a libero], especially for the back row because a lot of our hitters don’t have confidence when they are hitting so I always have to be there for them cheering them on always being supportive and telling them I always got their back but they are great players overall and they can do it,” Rivera said.
East kept their lead higher than 3 points the entire game up until the end. It was 22-17 Wolves but the Cougars came back and tied it at 23-23. They fought hard but it resulted in loss 24-26.
They play Romeoville in their next game. Charlett said that she isn’t too worried because they are usually on the lower end of the spectrum. However they will play tough teams after Romeoville, which one will be Minooka.
“This loss will affect us when we go play against Minooka cause they are a pretty good team. We just have to work harder in practice and work on what we need to, to get us prepared. Overall I think we are doing great and this loss will just motivate us to do better in future games,” Fitzgerald said.
The Wolves’ next game is a conference game, tonight, against Romeoville. The game begins at 4:30 p.m.
Alexandra McPhee is a sports writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl