Girls’ volleyball team lets late lead slip away, loses to Minooka in three sets

The lady Wolves huddle up before the start of the third set against Minooka. “We have to pick our spots better. Just worry about getting the point and forget the emotion when you lose one,” coach Adam Thurlwell said. Photo by Sahishnu Boyapally said.

The East girls’ varsity volleyball team hosted the Minooka Indians on Tuesday evening along with their celebration of Senior Night. The Wolves had struggled in their season up to this point compared to the Indians who had the 2nd best record within the conference. This bout was a must win for the Wolves in order for them to get better seeding within the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Wolves’ struggles continued as they could not close out against the Indians in three sets.

In the first set, the Wolves started the match by exchanging points with the Indians and tied the set 10-10. However, the Wolves would be unable to match the Indians production as the Indians would close out the set on a 15-2 run.

“It was really frustrating to see the first set end like that,” junior and manager Bhargav Katta said. “There were just a lot of mental errors that we made and I know we’re better than that.”

The second set looked like more of the same with the Indians starting the game with a large 14-7 lead. Minooka looked as if they were all over the court in the beginning of the set blocking kills and saving balls with incredible digs. Oswego East looked frustrated and defeated.

The Wolves would make a run though to close it to a 22-18 lead. The Wolves would call a timeout to discuss any late set adjustments. Then the Wolves pulled off a 8-2 run and upset the Indians in the second set.

“In the second set we definitely had our ups and downs but our energy was always high and we had a we’re going to get the next point attitude. Our communication was good and we were playing as a team,” senior Sydney Granholm said.

The third set would begin by the Wolves getting to a big nine point lead ahead of the Indians. The Wolves led the Indians 15-6. Unfortunately, the Wolves would only score three more points and lose the winner take all set by a score of 25-18.

“We got too comfortable,” senior Sarah Milas said. “Compared to the 3rd set, [the second set] seemed that we were in better sync because we were playing together and communicating a lot better. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t close out but we know now what we have to work on and we’re going to do that going forward.”

Wolves Coach Adam Thurlwell said he was displeased after the Wolves had let the game slip away. With such a large lead in the third set, Thurlwell acknowledged that it was a tough game to lose, despite Minooka being such a good team. 

“In the second set we definitely had our ups and downs but our energy was always high and we had a we’re going to get the next point attitude. Our communication was good and we were playing as a team.”

Senior Sydney Granholm on the Wolves comeback win in the second set

“We got caught in some rotations and didn’t properly switch and got more combative it seemed when we saw the game was starting to slip away,” Thurlwell said. “For the future we know that we can hang with teams like this. Even in a loss like this we gain confidence because we know we had a good team like this. Other teams might have good players but they don’t have that girl.”

Captain and senior outside hitter Kylie Mitchell reflected on the team’s performance and was then able to pinpoint how the team could have performed differently over the course of the night.

“We thought we had it in the bag. We got too relaxed and once they made their run, we weren’t prepared. I think another thing is that we lost a lot of those long rallies which are the emotional points and we got down on ourselves,” Mitchell said. “We have to get over the lost point or we’re going to keep losing.”

The Wolves will look to end their troubles with their next game coming tonight at Joliet Central. The game starts at 4:30 p.m.

Sahishnu Boyapally is a sports writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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