OSWEGO – As a senior captain, Vivian Campbell is the person who Oswego East follows on the volleyball court.
She sure came through in the clutch Tuesday.
Campbell delivered a long service run with the Wolves down a set and trailing by six points to visiting Yorkville in the second. The six-point run turned the tide of the match, and Oswego East went on to a 21-25, 25-19, 25-16 win to remain unbeaten and tied atop the Southwest Prairie Conference.
Fittingly, Campbell closed the match out with a kill at match point.
“As a captain for this team, I knew that I needed to come through there and make up for other mistakes. It was a crucial time, and I had to do my best to get my team back in the match,” Campbell said. “We needed a momentum shift and that’s what got us going.”
Campbell had four aces during the service run that turned a 12-6 Yorkville lead into a 13-12 Oswego East advantage. Wolves’ coach Dina Beamon wasn’t at all surprised to see Campbell take the reins when her team was in a tough spot.
“It was huge. She leads this team in more ways than just setting,” Beamon said. “We’ve been working with her on keeping her elbow up and not hitting it into the net. I told her you got this. She did what she needed to do. I told her you need to make a difference, and that’s exactly what she did.”
Megan Maier had 11 kills and six digs, Cailyn Smiley seven kills and nine digs, and Campbell 12 assists, nine digs, seven aces and three kills for Oswego East (10-4, 4-0). Keelyn Muell had 12 kills, 11 digs and eight assists, Athena Westphal six kills, Charlee Young five kills and Clare Knoll seven assists and six digs for Yorkville (12-9, 0-4).
In defeat, Yorkville coach Lisa Molek continued to see growth from her young Foxes, with the first meeting with Oswego East a clear reference point. The Wolves beat Yorkville 25-15, 25-18 at the Metea Valley/OE Kickoff classic tournament the first week of the season.
Muell’s setter kill started a 4-0 run in the first set that allowed the Foxes to pull away.
“We did not look anything like that the first time we played them,” Molek said. “The pace of the game, we couldn’t keep up with that level. Tonight was a totally different story. We stepped it up a notch. We can see the improvement happening in front of our eyes.”
The Foxes still had an opportunity to close out the match in the second set after Campbell’s long service run, but a Yorkville service error gave Oswego East the lead for good at 14-13. Another service error in the third set tied it 13-13, after the Foxes led for the last time on a Muell kill.
“Especially in the second set we missed four serves right at the end that separated us from them,” Molek said. “We have some growing pains, but I don’t want the last 10 points to define how I feel about the match. We took a step forward.”
A third Yorkville service error started a string of eight straight Oswego East points to close out the match after Yorkville had drawn within 17-16. Campbell had two kills during that stretch, whistling a shot from the right pin to end it.
“Anything I can do for my team for the win, especially in high school season,” Campbell said. “I usually don’t hit for club, but for high school I’ll do it.”
Campbell, one of nine Oswego East seniors, hopes a magical season is just getting started. The Wolves and Plainfield North are both unbeaten in the SPC. They play in two weeks in Oswego.
“There are nine seniors on this team. That’s a big number,” Beamon said. “It’s been our goal since Day 1 to win conference. We know we have tough competition, but I think we’re going to accomplish it.”