Senior hitter leads Minooka past Plainfield South

CHANNAHON – One dominant hitter can mask a lot of mistakes for a volleyball team. So can mistakes being made in bunches by the opponent.

The Minooka boys volleyball team had both of those things Tuesday as it defeated Plainfield South, 25-18, 25-21, in Southwest Prairie Conference play. Senior outside Mitch Perinar powered the Indians with 14 kills, which is four more than the Cougars had as a group. Minooka also had its 11 service errors and eight hitting errors largely offset by the 10 service errors of the Cougars.

"Some of our players were off, maybe," Perinar said. "I feel like we're the better team, but we just had to come alive. We needed more momentum and more, I guess, energy, honestly. Our team, sometimes, we get down on ourselves. We just gotta put it past ourselves and pick ourselves up."

Game 2 lacked any real separation either way until the final few points. The score was tied at 20 when sophomore Jeffrey Dames went to the service line for the Indians (6-3, 3-0). He produced four points, three of which were killed by Perinar. A service error by Dames at match point kept the Cougars alive, but only long enough for Perinar to finish them off with a sideout kill.

Dame, who finished with 13 points and two aces, was the only player with more than six service points from either team.

"He has become a much more confident server. He's got a great jump float," Minooka coach Janel Grzetich said of Dames. "And, it's just, this is his first year on varsity. It's been a little bit of a slow process with him in terms of just stepping on the court and saying, 'Yep, OK, I'm in here to serve. That's my one purpose. I'm gonna do this.' ... He did a great job. He did exactly what's expected of him."

South's six second-game service errors were more costly than its four in the first simply because the Cougars (1-4, 1-2) were more competitive. They trailed from the time five straight Dames points put Minooka ahead 7-3 in the first game until the finish.

"We had four or five [service errors] at the beginning [of Game 2] there, and that will totally shut you down real fast," Plainfield South coach Taryn Surbaugh said. "Especially because it's the only thing that you essentially control in volleyball is your serves. And we serve a lot in practice, and so it's a little frustrating."

Perinar made a couple of early hitting errors before recovering to total more than half of his team's kills. Mason Novak added six kills for Minooka, and Brandon Baranski had 16 assists.

"Everyone makes mistakes, honestly. I knew that it's a long game, so I just put it past me and kept swinging," Perinar said.

Cody Viertel's three kills were a high for the Cougars. Adam Burt led the team in assists with six and tied, with Andrew Smith, for the lead in points with five.