OSAGE — Whatever adjective you want to throw out for how the Osage volleyball team plays, maybe the best one is easy. The Green Devils, no matter who the opponent, just make it look that way all the time.
On Tuesday night in a Class 3A regional semifinal vs. Clear Lake, Osage never looked rushed, never panicked on any point and was collected every time the ball came over to its side. Staying in that frame of mind is important for the Green Devils, and it’s why they’re heading back to a third straight regional final after a win in straight sets over Clear Lake, 25-14, 25-15, 25-13.
“It means that we’re on track,” senior Kelsey Havel said. “It means all of our hard work and all of the goals that we set for ourselves this season are finally falling into place.”
In each of the three sets, Osage never ran into trouble.
Clear Lake did keep things tight during the opening portion of the first set, but was unable to keep pace after that.
The Green Devils’ offense again utilized all its hitters, but it was Havel who stood tall with a match-high 15 kills plus five aces on a night when Osage was on its serving game.
“I think when she has that killer instinct, the rest of them just kind of follow,” Osage coach Andie Olson said. “She can dominate any floor she’s on when she chooses to, and when she chooses to do that, the rest of them can just follow. It takes pressure off of her, too, because there’s so many other kids who can help us.”
The rest of the lineup delivered as well.
Brenna Jacobs and Dani Johnson added eight kills apiece and Sydney Midlang and Paige Kisley each had seven. Setter Rylie Olson was the facilitator for the Green Devils with 39 assists over the three sets.
Osage finished with 14 aces as Olson and Kourtney Chambers added three apiece to go along with Havel’s five. Chambers also had 12 digs.
“Being able to distribute the ball between all three of our hitters, whether Rylie is in the back row or she’s in the front, is always hard to stop because you never know where the ball is going to go,” Havel said. “Being able to have multiple girls to go to is so effective for us and that makes us difficult to defend.”
Clear Lake, which finishes its season 6-27, was led offensively by Maranda Harrison, who slammed down seven kills. Sophomore setter Julia Merfeld added seven assists.
Now Osage gets a chance to lock up another goal next Monday night in a regional final vs. Forest City in Clear Lake. For a Green Devil team which has seen plenty of big stages over the years in all sports, this will be nothing new.
“We are super level headed and our kids are very in check with their emotions,” Olson said. “We talk a lot about ‘We just do it every day. Don’t act like it’s a big deal.’ We just do it and move on.”