Girls Volleyball: Plainfield East outlasts Joliet West
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media October 28, 2013 9:48PM
Updated: October 28, 2013 10:09PM
MacKenzi Welsh could feel it.
When her jump-serve was off, it was really off.
When it was on? Well, that was Monday for the Plainfield East sophomore.
“Sometimes you go up and know you’re going to miss so you just try to get it over the net,” Welsh said. “It’s a really good feeling when you’re on. You can practice it, but it comes and goes.”
Welsh’s service run early in the third set sparked host Plainfield East to a 26-24, 19-25, 25-15 over Joliet West in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal.
Plainfield East (13-15) will play top-seeded Benet at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Joliet West closed at 15-21.
Having already brought East back from the brink of defeat in the first set with three straight kills, Welsh helped the Bengals regroup in the third.
Reeling off seven service points, including three aces in a row, Welsh helped East zip out to a 10-2 run.
“That was one of the good (jump-serve) feelings,” Welsh said with a smile.
Welsh finished with 19 kills, four aces and nine digs. Briana McGee (8 kills), Kelly Grba (15 assists), Allison Bowbin (12 assists) and Lily Binkus (5 kills) also contributed.
The three-set win was eerily reminiscent of Plainfield East’s three-set win over Joliet West in early September, an impressive third-set winner coming after a less than impressive second set.
“We’re always able to get into a rhythm that first set,” McGee said. “The second we get a little too comfy. It all started with the serves, and definitely set the rhythm for us.”
Plainfield East finished with five aces as part taking a 12-3 lead in the third set. Welsh slammed her 17th kill of the match at 18-13 to halt West’s mini-comeback.
Kailey Foster (10 digs, 4 kills), Jalyn Vertin (2 blocks), Cassie Brendemuehl (13 digs), Elexis Coleman (4 kills) and Shannon Doran (10 assists, 7 digs) led Joliet West.
For Vertin, a three-year starter, the end was bittersweet.
“We stopped communicating, stopped working with each other in the third,” Vertin said. “We’ve gotten so much better, and we’re a much stronger program. It’s going to keep building up. I’m excited to come back and watch them.”