OSWEGO — After dropping the third game, the Oswego varsity boys volleyball team took game four to defeat Living Word Academy 3-1 on Monday in Powers Gymnasium at Leighton Elementary School.
The Bucs won the first two games 25-17 and 25-20. LWA won the third game 25-20, but the Bucs rebounded for a 26-24 triumph in game four to seal the match.
Oswego Coach Eric McCrobie said the team is leaving a lot on the sideline.
“We still have a lot that we’re not showing on the court and that’s really frustrating as the coach,” McCrobie said. “Any time you’re communicating, you’re more focused as to what is going on because you’re narrating it. My goal in getting these guys to communicate more is that they’re going to be actively engaged in what’s going on on the court, even if they’re on the bench.”
Oswego never trailed in the opening game, leading by as many as eight points. The Bucs made several three- and four-point runs, including a three-point run at the end of the game including a Keyon Johnston kill to bring about game point. The Lions committed a net violation, and Oswego won 25-17.
While the Bucs opened scoring in the second game, LWA took a small lead early. Nate Allen went on a nine-serve streak including one ace to put the hosts in control. Oswego never trailed following the run. Mike Douglas had a kill late in the game to give Oswego a game point, and a serving error that went into the net gave the Bucs the 25-20 win.
McCrobie used a different starting-six to begin the third game. Since he has a larger roster this season, McCrobie mentioned that he likes to give his players the opportunity to play “if they earn it in practice.”
“We didn’t have a practice between Liverpool (on Saturday) and here, but in Liverpool we weren’t in a situation where I could get in other guys because we were down the whole time,” he said.
The third game started off slow for Oswego. The Lions either led or were tied during the entire game. McCrobie made a few substitutions to his normal rotation as the game went on to try and complete the sweep, but LWA had too much of a lead. The Bucs got to within three toward the end of the game, but the Lions went on a three-point run to the end it after Cole Pratt’s spike went out of bounds to propel LWA to a 25-20 win.
“Tonight was a different story for the bench guys compared to the first match against Jamesville-DeWitt. I didn’t feel like they had as much pep in their step as they did against J-D,” McCrobie said. “I had to make a couple of substitutions and things like that, but ultimately when I get those guys out there, I really like to see them appreciating the opportunity to show everyone what they’ve got. Hopefully that’s a message I can get through to them at practice.”
The fourth game was the closest of the entire match, with the largest lead being three points at any given time when LWA led 8-5. It went back-and-forth during a majority of the game. Pratt had a tip over the net that won the game and match for the Bucs, 26-24.
McCrobie said having the deeper bench compared to LWA’s eight-player squad helped win the match.
“If we need to make an adjustment and we need to get a guy in there so another guy can have a break — like I did with Mike at the end of the fourth set there, just to give him a quick rest before he went into the front row — that’s something we have the ability to do that not every team does,” McCrobie said. “Just keeping Living Word honest and making sure they knew we weren’t going to let up on them, I think that broke them down a little bit.”
Douglas finished with 11 kills, two aces, two blocks and two digs. Pratt chipped in four kills, four digs and a block. Johnston had eight kills and three assists. Nate DeVinny had 30 assists, three digs and two kills.
“With Mike and Keyon, with their length, I really appreciate them being able to block. When the two of them are up there together, I’d like to see them be a little more lethal with the double block than they are right now,” McCrobie said. “Having the two of them get their chemistry down is going to be a nightmare for other teams.”
Oswego (2-1) hosts Baldwinsville today. McCrobie said Tuesday’s practice would focus on communication and blocking. He added that Baldwinsville is a “scrappy team” on defense.
“I think we’re capable of being a better defensive team and a much stronger offensive team than what we’ve already done so far,” he said. “What we need to realize in practice is that we might have a great swing or a great tip that we think is going to be a point, but we’ve got to be ready for an amazing defensive play by Baldwinsville hitting the floor or whatever to get the ball up in the air because they always do it.”