Girls Volleyball: Plainfield North, Metea Valley advance
By Phil Brozynski For Sun-Times Media October 29, 2013 10:48PM
Plainfield North wasn’t taking anything for granted this time, not after losing to Oswego East less than a week ago.
“We played them twice before,” Tigers setter Kaitlyn Federico said. “I think the second time we didn’t come in as well prepared. We came in thinking, ‘Oh, this will be an easy win.’ But it was their Senior Night and they went at everything. Their libero went for every single ball. It was amazing.
“(Tuesday), we were here an hour early, warming up,” she added. “We were focused. We wanted to win.”
Dakota Santore had seven kills and a block, middle Lauren Robeck added six kills and two blocks and Federico had 16 assists and a kill as Plainfield North defeat Oswego East 25-16, 25-20 to advance to the championship of the Class 4A Metea Valley Regional.
The Tigers (32-4) will face the host Mustangs, a 25-18, 25-16 winner over Oswego in the other semifinal, at 6 p.m. Thursday .
Robeck almost single-handedly prevented Oswego East from forcing a third set. Her block broke a tie at 17, and her quick hitter over the middle extended the lead to 19-17. Oswego East (15-15) still was within 22-20 when Robeck hit another quick shot over the middle and followed that with an ace.
“I just knew I had to give everything for my team,” Robeck said. “I was a little nervous (when Oswego East took a brief 17-16 lead). We knew we were down, but we couldn’t let them beat us again. We knew we were the better team.”
Kelly Bertrand led the Wolves with 11 kills, setter Nicole Bertrand had 18 assists and junior Lauren Schultz added four kills and a block, all in the second game.
“When you see a team three times, you learn a lot about each other,” Oswego East coach Adam Thurlweil said. “That’s a tall order to beat such a good team like Plainfield North twice. We beat them once and we were dead after that game. We were so tired.
“To have that kind of physical and mental energy again is really, really difficult to do,” he added.
Two years ago when Metea Valley was a sixth seed and favored to reach the regional championship, the Mustangs soundly were beaten in the semifinals by Plainfield Central.
Kaylyn Torain made sure history would not repeat itself.
Torain, a 5-foot-9 middle hitter, had seven kills and two blocks, Nina Tuszynski added nine kills and Ellie Petersen had 20 assists, two kills and an ace as sixth-seeded Metea Valley defeated No. 11 Oswego 25-18, 25-16 to advance to the championship of the Class 4A regional hosted by the Mustangs.
Metea Valley (20-9) will face No. 3 seed Plainfield North at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Metea Valley trailed 7-4 early in Set 1, but three kills by Lexie Lobdell and two by Ashley Walker were part of a 14-6 run that gave the hosts an 18-12 lead.
“Oh, my gosh, that was so much fun,” Torain said. “It was insane at times. I had to calm myself down and do some deep breathing. We were a little shaky the beginning of the first game. It was a little tough. But once we got on a run, it was like ‘OK, we got this.’
“They were very scrappy,” she added. “Since we played them before they knew what we were doing. It was one of those things where we had a play smart and find the holes. Once we did, once we found the holes, the ball would be down. So it was good.”
Metea Valley experienced little anxiety in Set 2, building leads of 10-3 and 19-10. A kill by Torain extended the advantage to 20-11 and a dump by Petersen brought the partisan Metea Valley crowd onto the floor.
“I had to remind the girls that they’re (Oswego) going to be good,” Metea Valley coach Dave Macdonald said. “They’re going to be better. They’re going to come out here ready to fight. They want to beat you on your home court.
“They came out quick at the beginning,” he added. “I think there were some nerves playing at home and being the favorite to play in a regional championship match on Thursday. There were some nerves. But then they settled down and were able to play some good volleyball.”
Lyndsie Anders had seven kills, Amara Richardson had three kills and Katelyn Burke added 11 assists for Oswego (19-16).