ROXANA -- The East Alton-Wood River Oilers left Larry Milazzo Gymnasium pretty disappointed on Tuesday.
The Oilers began their 2016 season by losing matches to Gillespie and Jerseyville in pool play of the Roxana Volleyball Tournament. EA-WR lost 26-28, 25-19, 15-12 to Gillespie and Jerseyville 25-23, 25-15 to finish third in Pool B with an 0-2 mark.
Despite the slow start, coach Patti Scott believes her team can turn things around.
“I think they’re going to continue to improve,” Scott said. “We didn’t win a game in summer league until the last game. Part of that is because there were girls who were not there (playing in the summer leagues) and there were girls who were there. If they continue to improve, we should be all right.”
The Oilers head back to Roxana on Saturday to play two more matches. They’ll play Father McGivney at 9:30 a.m., then play either Dupo or Madison afterwards. If it wins both matches, EA-WR will finish ninth place in the 12-team tournament.
Senior outside hitter Lauren Robinson hopes her team will finish its tournament play on a positive note.
“I think we can really come out and really beat everyone that we set our minds to,” Robinson said. “We’re going to be able to win and fight for every point and never give up and work for everything.”
The Oilers have a road match against Civic Memorial on Thursday.
With win over the Oilers, Jerseyville finishes 2-0 in Pool B and advances to play Mt. Olive in the tournament semifinals at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Gillespie finished 1-1 in pool play after beating EA-WR and plays Marquette Catholic at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Oilers had a 7-4 lead in the third game against Gillespie before the Miners came back with an 11-5 run to win the game and match.
“It’s tough when you’re losing, no matter what,” Scott said. “We had four passes in a row that were bad. I had a setter who got upset about it. It’s like a ripple effect when that starts happening. They have to learn to work through issues. We’re young. We’re going to do it. I think they have a lot of potential.”
After a 10-minute break, EA-WR played its match against Jerseyville. The Oilers led 19-11 in the first game before the Panthers rallied with a 14-4 run.
“We fought really hard and we couldn’t finish it,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, by the end of the season, we’ll be able to finish our games and fight for everything and be able to win.”
Jerseyville led 10-3 in the second game and never looked back.
EA-WR had a solid serving performance from Robinson in both matches against Gillespie and Jerseyville. She finished with a combined five aces.
“Lauren Robinson is probably one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen,” Scott said. “She runs this team. She keeps them together and she’s talking constantly and she’s really positive. It would be difficult to pull her off the court. We tried it in practice. I just don’t have anybody else who can take that leadership role. So she’ll probably play a lot of the points unless she’s having a bad day.”
Senior Sierra Henry had six blocks, junior Morgan Moxey finished with three kills and junior Courtney Bassell finished with 23 digs in both matches against Gillespie and Jerseyville.
ROXANA SHELLS VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
Calhoun def. Bunker Hill 25-11, 25-20
Calhoun def. Dupo 25-5, 25-10
Bunker Hill def. Dupo 25-22, 25-20
Jerseyville def. Gillespie 25-21, 26-24
Gillespie def. EA-WR 28-26, 19-25, 15-12
Jerseyville def. EA-WR 25-23, 25-15
Civic Memorial vs. Bunker Hill, 8:30 a.m., large gym
Dupo vs. Madison, 8:30 a.m., small gym
Gillespie vs. Marquette, 9:30 a.m., large gym
EA-WR vs. Father McGivney, 9:30 a.m., small gym
Calhoun vs. Roxana, 12:30 p.m., large gym (semifinals)
Jerseyville vs. Mt. Olive, 12:30 p.m., small gym (semifinals)
Calhoun 2-0, Bunker Hill 1-1, Dupo 0-2
Mt. Olive 2-0, Marquette 1-1, Father McGivney 0-2
Jerseyville 2-0, Gillespie 1-1, EA-WR 0-2
Roxana 2-0, Civic Memorial 1-1, Madison 0-2