By Scott Taylor | @Taylor_Sports
Despite being below .500 on the year, Plainfield East has been picking up steam as of late.
That especially showed in a 25-18, 28-26 win over Plainfield South to open the second half of SPC play.
The Bengals trailed in the first set 8-3, but tied the match up at 12-12 and took control of the set from there.
In the second set they let 8-3 before South tied the game at 13-13. The match went back-and-forth from there until a Drew May kill gave East a 27-26 lead and a hitting error gave it the match.
“South is a tough team and we played them close the first time we played them,” East coach Alex Rodriguez said. “We knew we had to keep balls in play and make them make mistakes and later on they did.”
Nick Jenca had six kills, while Jacob Kurzrock and Luke Brown had five kills each. Brown added 22 assists and Noah Van Wyk had four kills and two blocks.
“Nick Jenca and Drew May have been our top players,” Rodriguez said. “Noah Van Wyk has been coming up strong for us of late.”
Rodriguez likes the improvement his team has been making recently.
“It was just steady, but we are on a dramatic incline now,” Rodriguez said. “We’re peaking coming up to the end of the season at the right time.”
The biggest difference has been limiting hitting errors.
“We’re putting the ball in the court. That has been the biggest improvement,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been hitting a lot of balls in practice and trying to keep it in the court. If you can do that, you can finish matches. Make the other team play.”
With Rodriguez in his first year with the program, it might have taken the team a little bit of time to adjust, but with the program in good shape heading in to the season, the adjustments were minor.
“I came into a great program,” Rodriguez said. “I’m just trying to build on what was already made. We made some changes and some adjustments. It took a little bit of time to adjust, but we have gone from there. We just have to keep it up.”
With the way they are playing as of late, the sky is the limit heading to the end of the season.
“I have told them since day one that we are going to state,” Rodriguez said. “I told them to start believing it. With hard work we can get there, so I am very optimistic.”
The Bengals are the No. 17 seed in the Glenbard East Sectional and open play May 23 at 5:30 p.m. against No. 16 Oswego East in the Oswego East Regional.
A win would put them up against the top seed Glenbard West at 5:30 the following day at Oswego East.