CHANNAHON — When it took the floor against Oswego East Tuesday, the Minooka varsity boys volleyball team was three days removed from the high of winning its own invitational.
The possibility of a letdown lingered for the Indians Tuesday for, oh, about a point. They allowed the Wolves a 1-0 first-game lead and never trailed again, running their Southwest Prairie Conference record to 7-0 with a 25-9, 25-15 win at Minooka's south campus.
"One of the things we've focused on with this group is keeping our energy level high every game and having no slumps," Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said. "Our energy level was outstanding tonight. The guys came out very much ready to play, and coming off of an emotional win over Neuqua, I was happy to see that."
The Indians 25-19, 23-25, 25-19 win over Neuqua Valley in Saturday's championship match at their invitational was made even sweeter by the opponent.
"They're a big rival of ours," senior Minooka middle Maalik Walker said. "We didn't get to play them last year, but it seemed like we always did before that. Our sophomore year, I think they beat us, but then at a JV tournament, they were second and we finished first."
With the score tied at 1-1 in the first game Tuesday, senior David Hynek served up three points to give Minooka some separation from the Wolves. Oswego East hung around enough to make keep it a 7-4 score at one point, however.
"I thought we played well, but we definitely could have started off better," Minooka setter Phil Hannon said. "Once our players got into the flow of the game, we were fine."
George Perinar and Matthew Svetlecich had two points each on trips to the service line to help the Indians start to pull away. Hynek later went back to the line with the score 17-8 in Minooka's favor and reeled off seven straight points to put the Indians on the cusp of a victory Walker finished off with a sideout kill.
Hynek again served the Indians to a comfortable lead second game, blowing open a 3-2 score with three straight points. Though the Indians' lead remained in single digits until Jacob Fleischauer served up a point to make it 23-13, they never seemed to be in real jeopardy of losing it.
Perinar finished with a Minooka-high eight kills, with Walker getting six to go with his team-leading five blocked kills. Hynek totaled 18 service points and two aces. Hannon distributed 28 assists.
"I felt I was able to get up there pretty good," Walker said of his blocks. "That was just a matter of me following our outsides and our right sides."
Twenty-two matches into the season, the Indians' only loss remains a 25-23, 25-20 decision to Darby (Ohio) at the Wheaton Warrenville Classic March 27-28. They have a championship at the Plainfield North Invitational to their credit in addition to the one at their own. Only one more regular-season tournament, at Lincoln-Way East May 3-4, is scheduled for them.
"The thing about this group is that they set high goals and really commit to chasing them. They're aware it's a step-by-step process," Grzetich said. "There should be some great competition at Lincoln-Way East. I think we're really looking forward to see how we can do against those teams."