CEDAR RAPIDS — If Osage was going to drop a match, it would be at the state semifinals.
The No. 5 Green Devils faced No. 1 Sioux Center, and with a two-set advantage, they played like they had nothing to lose. But after a close loss in the third set, the Green Devils would fall off the deep end in a heartbreaking loss 16-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-10, 15-8.
“I’m disappointed; obviously I wanted it for the kids so bad,” head coach Andie Olson said. “And they wanted it so bad and obviously they came out really hot in sets 1 and 2 and I was like, ‘Don’t take a nap. They’re going to fight, they have a lot of seniors, they’re not done either,' and that’s what happened and they just kept coming at us.’”
Senior Brenna Jacobs kicked off the first set with a surprise kill in the middle position. The Green Devils held a comfortable lead 11-5 behind forced errors on the Warriors’ side. Osage extended a 20-11 lead late in the set, closing it comfortably 25-16.
The second set saw more fight on the Warriors’ side. Sioux Center held an 18-14 advantage after tying the Green Devils six times and pulling away on four-point run. The Green Devils stayed calm, rallying back to tie the Warriors at 19-19 and 20-20. Junior Sydney Midlang would break the tie 21-20, and Jacobs would aid in the finishing touches 25-21.
It looked like the Green Devils had the match, until they dropped to a 13-7 deficit in the third. The Warriors were fighting to stay alive, maintaining a four-point lead for much of the set and teasing the Green Devils a few times to bring them within two. Senior Kelsey Havel poured on a five-kill performance, bringing the score within two at 19-17, but the Warriors continued to run away until they closed the set 25-21.
The fourth set looked nothing like the previous as the Green Devils dropped to an 11-point deficit at 14-3. Alexis Toering and Makennah Traver of Sioux Center continued to pile on the 10-foot-line slams to put Osage on the defensive, unable to come up with kills, sending it to a fifth at 25-10.
“We just stopped playing together,” Jacobs said. “We all wanted it so bad, we just played for ourselves and it was hard to get us back together and it was hard to get back together.”
The fifth set saw more of a fourth-set Osage, continuing to struggle with points. Warriors were picking up every swing and the Green Devils mostly capitalized on forced errors.
“We got in a rut and we couldn’t get out and no one was stepping up,” Olson said. “I think it’s hard having seniors on the floor and the younger kids don’t want to lose it for them, this could be it and it’s just a hard thing.”
By the time the scoreboard lit a 12-7 advantage, Osage had lost its tempo, dropping the match 15-8.
“Oh it just makes me hungry,” Jacobs said. “I need a state championship before I graduate and I’m not stopping until I get one.”
Havel finished the match with 16 kills, Jacobs and Midlang each had 14. Osage out-blocked Sioux Center eight to four, with five block assists by Midlang.
“Basketball season starts Monday,” Midlang said.