MINOOKA – After a dominant first set, the second-seeded Minooka boy’s volleyball team was down, 15-10, to third-seeded Providence Catholic, but a critical timeout changed the attitude of the Indians, and they went on to claim their first regional title in three years with a 25-10, 25-22 victory over the Celtics on Wednesday.
The Indians advance to the sectional semifinals and will face the winner of the Oswego regional, which pits top-seeded Lincoln-Way West against Plainfield North Thursday evening. The Sectional will take place at Plainfield North beginning at
5 p.m. Friday.
“I’ll clean up for you what I said in that timeout in the second set,” Minooka coach Mike Kargle said. “Basically, I told them that we had to get back to playing our style of volleyball. We did that and took care of business.”
After totally controlling the first set, the Indians built a 15-4 lead and never looked back. The Celtics scored the first three points in the second set and were in control until Kargle called the timeout, trailing 15-10.
It was a different team after the timeout, as Minooka went on a 7-2 run to tie the set at 17. Then leading 21-20, Providence called a timeout, but a big block by Minooka junior Rafael Vieyra made it 22-20, and the Indians had the momentum and eventually the regional title.
The first set was the Evan Faifer show for the Indians, as the junior had seven kills and could do no wrong on any ball he hit. AJ Lewis added four kills and an ace, with Shane Oomes adding four kills.
“We just wanted to come out and play hard from the beginning,” Faifer said. “We did that in the first set, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy in the second. Coach just told us to believe in ourselves and what we have done all season during that timeout in the second set.”
During the comeback in the second set Faifer, Lewis and Oomes contributed seven kills to end the Celtics season.
“We had faith in what we have done all season long,” Oomes said. “We don’t know yet who we will face in the sectional, but I like where we are right now.”
“I think we were a little too hyped up during that first set, but after that first set, I just told them to stick to the game plan, and they did that,” first year Providence coach Lee Rucinski said. “All of these kids know each other and most play together on the UNO 18 Elite club team. “I couldn’t have ask for a better first season with these kids. We had nine seniors who bought in, and we came away with 27 wins on the season. Those seniors set the standard for what’s to come with this program.”
After letting a big lead slip away against Joliet Catholic in the regional semifinal, Kargle hopes the second set let-down is not a pattern.
“I certainly hope that isn’t the case, especially at this time of the season, but we have an extra practice day, and that is something we are going to work on,” Kargle said. “There are some drills we can do to help us prepare, and I’m confident in this team because we have been in so many different situations this season and have played a tough schedule.”
“Evan was really dominant in that first set and we got away from that early in the second. We just have to continue to do what we do good. The great thing about this team is that they are a team. No one ever complains that their not getting their time. When you play as a team like that, good things happen. This is the second season now and we are 2-0 and that is all that matters.”