By: Luke Drase
The regional quarterfinals at Fremd kicked off on Monday evening with a double header featuring three teams from the CSL, and just one from the MSL.
The early match began right at 5:30 with a CSL showdown between the Maine West Warriors, and Deerfield Warriors.
The two teams already met twice this year with Maine West taking both matches in straight sets. The third matchup between the two teams was no different as Maine West dispatched of Deerfield in less than 45 minutes, 25-10, 25-14.
Set one was all Maine West from the first serve. The Warriors jumped out to a 7-2 lead, causing an early Deerfield timeout, but it did nothing to slow the momentum down.
Before anyone in the gym knew it, Maine West was up 19-4 before putting it into cruise control, taking a 25-10 set one win.
Instead of hanging their head on what could have been a demoralizing loss, Deerfield started out set number two much improved.
Deerfield only trailed 8-7 early on, but back to back stuff blocks by Dugalic (four kills, three blocks) and Riedl (eight kills, three blocks and an ace) gave them the advantage they needed.
From that moment on, Maine West righted the ship and would confidently close out the set 25-14 to give them the match.
In addition to Riedl and Dugalic, Maine West were led by Ally Block, who finished with 20 assists, three kills and two aces and Sophie Saldana, who added 10 digs.
Maine West will face the number four seed Niles West in the regional semifinals, and despite Niles West being the favorites, a confident Maine West team should worry the Wolves.
The second and final match of the night took place between Maine East, where for whatever reason, Maine East looked unenergized throughout the entirety of the match.
A six-pack from Gabby Quintero to give Maine East a 7-5 lead seemed to help a little bit as they went on a run to take a 13-5 advantage, but errors from the Blue Demons let Conant right back into the set.
Conant actually took a 19-17 lead late in the set, but Maine East did just enough to rally back, taking set one 25-23, thanks in large part to the serving of Maddie Sielski and Morgan Fritze.
“I don’t think it was nerves, I think it was just a lack of energy,” said Maine East head coach Kevin Bohn on his team’s slow start. “We talked about all season how we’re such a better team when we come out fired up and we just weren’t there and we need to regroup after tonight.”
Although set number two seemed to go a little better for Maine East, there still seemed to be something missing from the Blue Demons squad.
Maine East did manage to cut down their errors and find the right people to serve to, which helped them take 7-4, and 15-10 leads but there was little explosiveness to their game.
Despite all their faults, Maine East did manage to cruise to a relatively easy set two win 25-16 to give them the match. Which, at the end of the day, is all you can ask for during playoff time.
Maine East will play the hosts Fremd on Tuesday at 6:30 in a regional semifinal matchup, but they need to up their energy and play if they are to compete for a regional title.
Bohn said: “We have to get the girls to buy into this potentially being their last game, especially for the seniors this is the last time they could be playing for Maine East. Hopefully that will light a little fire under them and get them to play a little bit harder and make it a little bit more meaningful for them.”