Wolves defeat crosstown rivals in the annual volleyball matchup

Senior Danny Lawrence spikes the ball over the net in the first set against the Panthers. Photo courtesy of Colleen Olson.

The Varsity Wolves secured another win Thursday night in their annual crosstown matchup against the Oswego Panthers, extending their current record to 10-5. 

The Panthers had played more season games thus far, with a record of 10-8 entering the matchup. But that experience wasn’t enough to stop the Wolves. 

The matchup only lasted two sets, the first one ending in a close knit 25-21, and the second one ending 25-18. 

Senior and outside hitter Danny Lawrence entered the matchup with zero doubts. He said the most important thing is keeping the energy up and making sure everyone is locked in. 

“The energy in the stands was a big factor of the game,” Lawrence said. “But I had faith in my boys and didn’t really think in my mind that we were going to lose this game.”

Entering the second set, the Panthers regained their mental toughness, going on a scoring streak that left the Wolves down 1-7. 

With Harrison Moran (Junior) and Ryan Schuitema (Senior) both on serving runs, the Wolves were able to regain their momentum and tie up at 11-11.

Senior defensive specialist Jeet Patel said the team did best hitting their spots on serves with a few aces throughout the match. He credited Moran and Schuitema for their serving runs. 

“We were really consistent in the second set,” Patel said. “In the first set we missed a lot of serves, we had almost ten serving errors.”

Junior Tyrus Cloat – and another of the Wolves’ outside hitters – said the game wasn’t perfect but they were able to correct their mistakes to secure the win. 

“As soon as we would make errors, we would always come together, bring each other up, and get the job done,” Cloat said. “We just stayed in it and kept playing hard.”

In the district, the crosstown matchup is a big social event. It’s typically one of the highest attended games in all athletics and as a result tends to hold the most pressure.

Head coach Dru Filkins said he constantly reminded the Wolves throughout the week that it’s just like any other game and while it would be nice to win, it’s not of significant importance. 

“The team did a great job handling the pressure,” Filkins said. “I’ve been a part of volleyball teams and football teams that have let the pressure get to them. I think we lived up to that pressure and we didn’t let it get to us.”

Patel said that the team had excellent teamwork and put in a lot of effort during the game.  

“We have the talent,” Patel said. “All we have to do is bring it upon ourselves as a team and if we all lock in together, we’re winning everyday.”

The Wolves hope to sustain this energy Friday night as they compete in the Brother Rice Smack Attack Tournament.

Grace Praxmarer is a staff editor for Oswego East’s online news magazine The Howl

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