Following their loss two nights prior, the boys´ varsity volleyball team entered the court Thursday evening with a 7-6 record in hopes of adding another win. Since the start of the season, they’ve lost even more players to injury, and although starting the first set strong, the Wolves fell to Joliet West, losing in both the second and third matches on a final score of 15-25.
Despite starting each game with a slightly different lineup, due to the mass amount of injuries, sophomore Tyrus Cloat commented on the impressivness of the Wolves´ ability to perform in the first set. Tyrus scored seven kills, two aces, and four digs throughout the entirety of the game.
¨For the first set, we really came together as a team,¨ Cloat said. ¨It was the best we’ve ever played in any game and if we can do that for the rest of the season and maintain it through all the sets, we’ll be unstoppable.¨
The competition was clear within the first few minutes of the game. There was no massive lead by either team and they scored consecutively throughout most of the matches, up until one team broke away.
The Wolves performed defensively and made many blocks at the net which allowed them to pull through in the first match and win 25-18. But it didn’t go unnoticed when West began to match their energy. Cloat claimed the reason for their loss was because the Wolves lacked energy and confidence and were unable to pull it together as a team.
¨We needed to get our energy up,¨ Cloat said. ¨I felt like we really died out in the third set and that’s what led us to losing, we lost confidence and played worse as a team.¨
And although the loss was disappointing, Head Coach Matt Guerrieri said there has still been noticeable improvement and growth, especially from younger players.
¨I would say we’ve improved in a lot of areas. Even with injuries, people are being put in positions they aren’t normally doing,¨ Guerrieri said. ¨Our record might not be where we had hoped it to be at this point but individually I´ve seen a lot all around, with their ability to adapt to other positions, and as a team I´ve seen our servicing get better, even our younger players are stepping up and taking bigger roles.¨
Since the start of the season, the Wolves have had lingering injuries, not once have they played a game with a fully functioning roster. Thursday night, returning senior and captain Stanley Guziec was one of those players, filling in as the starting setter. However, he said he was not fazed by the pressure to perform.
¨I didn’t really have many concerns filling in as a setter tonight. I trusted my training and my abilities and it wasn´t a position I was completely unfamiliar with either,¨ Guziec said. ¨I was more concerned that we didn’t have our full team and I know a lot of people are unhappy that we are losing but we are having to play with the situations we are given.¨
With many losses on their record, the Wolves haven’t completely lost hope. They remain optimistic that their training will pay off and their injured players will make a quick recovery.
Junior Niko Perrozi said he relies on their training to push them further in the season.
¨I believe the season is on the right track, and we´re getting key concepts down through practices and the work we have been putting in, so hopefully that will get us to win more games,¨ Perrozi said.
The Wolves take on their rivals, the Oswego Panthers, in the annual crosstown match on Thursday, April 21st.
Grace Praxmarer is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl