Oswego East lines up for the National Anthem on Monday.
Winning a playoff game is always exciting, but it’s even sweeter when you get to knock out your biggest rival.
That’s exactly what Oswego did on Monday night, defeating crosstown foe Oswego East 25-14, 25-20 in an opening round game of the West Aurora regional. It was the Panthers’ third victory against the Wolves this season.
“The crosstown rivalry definitely added a lot more to this game,” Oswego outside hitter Trevor Hamman said. “We play them every year and for the seniors, it was the last time they’ll ever play them. We wanted it more because it that.”
Oswego shot out to an early 11-3 in the first game and never looked back. Middle hitter Freddy Miller had five kills and a block and outside hitter Quentin Kovac had four kills and a block as the Panthers took the first game 25-14.
In the second game, the Wolves capitalized on seven early errors by the Panthers to take an 9-5 lead. However, the Panthers captured the lead with a 6-0 run that featured two kills and a block from middle hitter Brandon Garcia, and never relinquished the lead.
Oswego coach Amie West said that Hamman – who had four kills in the second game – was the key to the Panthers’ 25-20 victory in game two.
“Trevor did a fantastic job in the second game. He really stepped it up, and got some really good kills,” West said. “Our passing struggled a little so we couldn’t go to our middles as much as we’d like, so we turned to him.”
Miller led the Panthers with eight kills, while Kovac had seven and middle hitter Kevin Oppe had five. Garcia had three kills and two blocks.
Setter Blake Izzo had four kills to lead the Wolves, while middle hitter Ryan Passini added three kills and a block.
The No. 15 seeded Panthers will face No. 2 seed Glenbard East on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in a regional semifinal.
“We have not seen them at all this year. I know that they’re ranked No. 2, so they’re a very good team. You beat good teams by having a lot of heart,” West said.
I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.