OSAGE – Osage volleyball coach Andie Olson wanted to improve the quality of the Green Devils nonconference schedule.
On Saturday, that is exactly what happened as second-rated (3A) Osage hosted a six-team tournament that included five rated teams plus Mason City.
Also in the field were top-rated (5A) Cedar Falls, top-rated (2A) Dike-New Hartford, fourth-rated (4A) Waverly-Shell Rock and 11th-ranked (3A) Gilbert.
“The hard part is that you could walk out of here 1-4 and still have a really good day,” Olson said. “You just want to be able to compete with everybody.”
Dike-New Hartford scored an upset win over Cedar Falls to go 5-0 on the day. The Tigers finished 4-1.
Osage finished 1-4, but three of the Green Devil losses – Cedar Falls, Gilbert and Waverly-Shell Rock – were by 2-1 margins.
For the Green Devils, a state qualifier a season ago, the day represented a chance to not only see the type of competition that they are likely to encounter should they be fortunate enough to make another postseason run, but it was also an opportunity to learn what they need to work on going forward.
Osage put together a solid performance in a win over Mason City, but tough losses to perennial power Dike-New Hartford and a solid Gilbert team were learning experiences for the Green Devils, who were undefeated entering the day.
“We needed this test,” Olson said. “We need to know what we need to do.”
For Mason City, the goals of the day were a bit different for a young Mohawk squad that entered the season with very little varsity experience.
“We got the girls some more experience,” Mason City coach Nicole Hunter said. “But I wanted them to see what volleyball should look like. I want that to become second nature to them.”
Mason City got off to a slow start on the day with an early loss to the Green Devils, but the Mohawks became more aggressive and showed some improvement at times, particularly in their matches with Cedar Falls and Dike-New Hartford.
The Mohawks hung around for much of the first set against an undefeated Tigers team before Cedar Falls’ power at the net took over late.
While Mason City was 0-5 on the day, the Mohawks collected a lot of game experience in a week that saw them play eight matches over a five-day span.