ALTON — The Marquette Catholic Explorers volleyball team extended its winning streak to four matches with a 2-0 Prairie State Conference victory over the East-Alton Wood River Oilers at Marquette Catholic High School on Tuesday night.
“It means confidence for these girls,” Explorer coach Sue Heinz said of the winning streak. “This is a place this school has never been in (recently) and it’s nice to see they’re developing the mental toughness. It’s nice to see us come back from 24-23 (second game) and win it.”
The Explorers (11-6) established a 4-2 lead early in the first game. The first game was tied three different times early — the last time at 8-8. With Tori Covington serving, the Oilers put together a four-point run to make the score 11-9. EA-WR owned a 14-10 lead at one time, its biggest lead of the game. But when Marquette’s Marissa Nosco stepped up to serve, the momentum turned in its direction, as the Explorers put together a nine-point run to make the score 19-14.
The Oilers (7-10) battled back against the Explorers and pulled within a point (21-20) and tied the score up at 23. But EA-WR couldn’t sustain the momentum and Marquette won 25-23.
“In the first game, we gave them too many points on serve receive,” EA-WR head coach Patti Scott said. “We didn’t pull them through.”
The second game was tied at four different times early — the last at 13-13. With Christen Falstitch serving, the Oilers managed a five-point run to make the score 17-13 in favor of East-Alton Wood River. During the span, Lexi Johnson’s kill gave the Oilers a 15-13 lead. Johnson led EA-WR in kills with four.
Nosco’s serving paid off for Marquette again, as she served during a three-point run, the biggest Explorer run for the remainder of the game, to cut EA-WR’s lead to 18-17. Anna Daugherty of Marquette provided a kill during the scoring streak. Daugherty led the Explorers with five kills.
“She knows that’s expected of her because she’s my No. 1 server,” Heinz said of Nosco. “When we get in a position like that, with her being a sophomore, it’s extreme maturity for her to come out and be able to do that and get the run that we needed.”
The Oilers held a 21-18 lead late in the second game, but the Explorers kept fighting back. The contest was tied at 24-24 and 25-25 points with Marquette ultimately prevailing 27-25. Heinz thought her team played a good all-around match.
“We had good hitting all-around and a couple of key blocks (Michelle Cameron),” she said. “We also had some good serves. Our serve receiving struggled a little bit because they had some good servers but we got that worked out.”
Scott felt the Oilers “fell apart as a team” in the second game. She also said that “on to many points, we didn’t play to win.”
Marquette will take on Mater Dei at 6 p.m. Thursday at home, while EA-WR battles Gillespie on Sept. 29 in an away contest at 6 p.m.