WOOD RIVER — The Marquette Catholic Explorers defeated the East Alton-Wood River Oilers in a Prairie State Conference contest at Memorial Gym in Wood River on Tuesday night.
The Explorers won 25-22, 25-22, but not without a fight from the Oilers. Catholic climbs to 9-10 overall and 2-1 in the PSC. EA-WR dipped to 4-14 and 0-1 with the loss.
“I can’t complain about that,” Explorers coach Sue Heinz said of the 2-0 win. “However, this wasn’t the performance I wanted to put forth. We played a few tough teams here lately and I was hoping that would improve our performance tonight.”
The Explorers built a 3-0 lead in the early part of the first game. However, the Oilers worked and tied the contest up at three, four and five points. With Karoline Lauritzen of Marquette serving, the Explorers put together a three-point run to run the lead to 12-6. They maintained a five to six-point lead throughout the middle part of the game.
Morgan Moxey’s kill cut Marquette’s lead to six points, as it led 20-14. And later Lauren Robinson’s two-point serving run cut the Explorer lead to three points (21-18). However, Marquette maintained the lead and won 25-22.
“I think the serve-receive was a problem for us tonight,” Oiler coach Patti Scott said. “I don’t give them just one-point, I give them three-points. If I can’t break a serve right off of the bat then the momentum is not an issue. Serving was our weakest point tonight.”
In the second game, EA-WR built a 4-0 lead. Explorer Amanda Murray’s kill cut the Oilers' lead to 4-1. Then Kate Cogan came up to serve and strung together a four-point serving run to make the score 5-4. Middle hitter Michelle Cameron had kills on the second, third and fourth points.
“We had some good blocking,” Heinz said. “And when we needed the kill we got the kill with Michelle, with Kate and with Regina (Guehlstorf).”
Cameron finished the contest with eight kills, two aces and 19 attacks.
“Without a pass and a set I can’t get those kills, without the team I can’t get it,” Cameron said. “With this win, I hope it can boost our confidence and hopefully we can play like we can.”
The Explorers wouldn’t run away with game, as it was tied up at five, six, nine, 13 and 20 points. Cameron’s ace tied up the score at 20. Murray’s four-point serving run made the score 25-22 in favor of Marquette to finish the game.
Coach Scott did acknowledge positives in the loss.
“We did some things right tonight,” she said. “We worked really well as a team which I haven’t seen in awhile. The communication was there and they played a lot better in terms of what our goals are and we haven’t seen that in awhile. I’m really proud of them tonight, I would have liked to come away with a win but at least we can hold our heads up.”
Scott also credited freshman middle hitter Julian Barber.
“Julian is just a freshman and she hasn’t played varsity before, of course,” Scott said. “She’s starting to get a little more confidence. Before it was ‘I don’t want to disappoint them’ and now it’s ‘I can play with them.’ I’m really proud of her.”
The Oilers will play next at 5 p.m. on Thursday at home against Father McGivney. The Explorers will return to action at 7 p.m. at home against Mt. Olive in PSC action on Sept. 27.