After watching the sophomore teams battle in a close three game match Tuesday night, Minooka beat Lockport in a nailbiting two games, 30-28, 25-22. Saying that the volleyball season started with excitement would be an understatement.
During the first game, the Indians and Porters battled neck and neck for each point. Toward the middle of the first game, nerves could be felt throughout the crowd.
Ginger Perinar blocked Olivia Witsaman, making the score 19-16 Minooka. Lockport called its first timeout and after play continued, the Porters stormed back.
The Porters sided out, making the score, 19-17. Minooka then committed a net violation and hitting error. Lockport’s Julia Elsouso and Morgan Valley shut down Perinar in one of her hardest swings of the night, giving Lockport another point. The Indians called a timeout to regroup down, 20-19.
The two teams continue to battle point for point after the timeout. Perinar swung hard line, bouncing the ball near the 10-foot line to tie the game, 22-22. After siding out, Rachel Napoli served an ace, giving Lockport game point.
After Minooka sided out, Perinar blocked Lockport’s right side, giving Minooka its first game point.
Lockport’s Elsouso puts down a ball, tying the game again, 25-25. The sides kept battling until the final point. Perinar swung from the back row and ended the first game, 30-28, for an Indians win.
The entire second game was similar to the first. The teams continued to battle each other, point for point. Like the first, Minooka came out on top.
Winning the opener was not the only exciting part about the game for Minooka. It was the first time it won the opening game in the first match, according to its setter.
“This is the first time that Minooka won its first game, ever,” Kelly Clucas said. “We won both matches so it was really exciting. We played together as a team and we pushed through. We have a lot of potential this year because everyone plays well together.”
Leading the Indians were Perinar with 14 kills, 10 digs and three blocks and setter Clucas with 32 assists and three blocks. Also contributing to the Indians’ success were libero Theresa Diamon with 15 digs and middle hitter Cynthia Ley with seven kills and two blocks.
Minooka is excited to see how well they will compete throughout the year.
“Our team was able to push through, even when we were down,” Perinar said. “When the points were critical, we were able to push through that which is a good sign for the season. Just knowing we can do that is going to take us really far this year.”
“I think we will be very solid,” Indians coach Chris Hoelscher said. “They are a wonderful group of girls. They are positive and they work hard. They work for each other. That is one of our core values; we play for each other. They describe themselves as a cluster of grapes. They are all different, but very close to each other.”
Despite losing the home opener, Lockport coach Erika Lange was happy with the Porters’ performance.
“It was very close game and that’s how it was last year,” Lange said.
“I think that it’s a good gauge for us. Minooka is a very tall team that runs a consistent offense. We’re going to see that every night in our conference. For the first game of the season, to be that close to a good team with good offense gives us a lot of confidence in what we need to work on and where we need to go to start winning those games.”
Leading Lockport were Lindsey Visvardis with 12 digs, Valley with five kills and Elsouso with four kills.