LOCKPORT – After watching the sophomore teams battle in a close three-set match Tuesday, Minooka beat Lockport in a nailbiting two sets, 30-28, 25-22. Saying that the season started with excitement would be an understatement.
During the first set, the Indians and Porters battled neck and neck for each point.
Ginger Perinar blocked Olivia Witsaman, giving Minooka a 19-16 lead. 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. Down 20-19, the Indians called a timeout to regroup.
The two teams continued to battle point for point after the timeout. Perinar swung hard, bouncing the ball near the 10-foot line to tie the set at 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 set at 25. The teams kept battling until the final point before Perinar swung from the back row and ended the first set, 30-28.
The second set was similar to the first. The teams continued to battle each other, point for point. Like the first, Minooka came out on top.
“This is the first time that Minooka won its first game, ever,” Minooka setter 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 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.”