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'We did it': Osage volleyball dominates Mount Vernon to win first state title in program history
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STATE VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

'We did it': Osage volleyball dominates Mount Vernon to win first state title in program history

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State Vball Osage vs. Mount Vernon 12

Osage players hoist their championship trophy after defeating Mount Vernon two weeks ago during the Class 3A championship round of the state volleyball tournament at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids.

Going into the state championship matchup against the Class 3A, No. 3 defending-champion Mount Vernon, the message for the No. 1 Osage volleyball team remained clear.

Finish.

The Green Devils had been to the state tournament four years in a row before this season, but were never able to move past the semifinal round. That didn’t sit right with the leaders of the team.

“It was honestly an unfinished business feeling,” senior Danielle Johnson said. “We just had to make it here, you know what I mean? We just knew that we were coming back to finish the job in our last year.”

So it was imperative for Osage to get ahead – and stay ahead – in the state final.

And that’s exactly what the Green Devils did on Thursday afternoon.

Osage dominated Mount Vernon from start to finish in Cedar Rapids, beating the Mustangs in three straight sets to win the first state championship in program history.

“You know that cliché where they say ‘Pinch me I’m dreaming?’ That’s what it feels like,” head coach Bryan Tabbert said. “I know why people say that now, because we just did it.”

State Vball Osage vs. Mount Vernon 9

Osage players dog pile after defeating Mount Vernon Thursday during the Class 3A championship round of the state volleyball tournament at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids.

It’s not unusual to see the Green Devils beat up on their opponents. In 31 of the team’s 33 wins, Osage won the match without dropping a set.

What is unusual is winning so convincingly in the state championship game. After jumping ahead 1-0 in the first two sets, the Mustangs never led again in either of the two sets. Osage led for the entirety of the third set as well.

“That was an amazing feeling,” Johnson said. “We were not expecting that.”

Osage beat Davenport Assumption, 3-1, in the state semifinals on Wednesday. After falling behind 1-0, and winning three sets in a row to complete the comeback, the Green Devils carried their momentum right into the first set of the championship game.

The Green Devils jumped out to a 9-3 lead before the Mustangs called a timeout. After the timeout, Osage went on a 16-2 run to win the first set in dominating fashion, 25-6.

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“I just felt like we had the momentum,” senior Ellie Bobinet said. “We just knew we had it.”

State Vball Osage vs. Mount Vernon 1

Osage players celebrate scoring against Mount Vernon Thursday during the Class 3A championship round of the state volleyball tournament at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids.

But the Mustangs were a defending state champions for a reason, and fought to get back into the second set. The score was tied at 7-7.

“Your fear is just like, you’re so hyped up and then you deflate during that second set,” senior Paige Kisley said. “We wanted to keep up on our energy. We knew they were going to come back for a fight.”

Osage took Mount Vernon’s punches and came back swinging. The Green Devils eventually clawed their way into an eight-point lead before the Mustangs took a timeout. Osage was able to win, 25-17, in the second set to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

The Green Devils had momentum heading into the final set. Osage led the entire way and was ahead 16-12 midway through the third set.

“The last five points of this third set, I looked around and took it in,” Johnson said. “We did it. We’re here. We’re finishing. We’re state champions.”

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Osage's Kaebre Sullivan, left, and Claudia Aschenbrenner embrace as the Green Devils celebrates their victory against Mount Vernon Thursday during the Class 3A championship round of the state volleyball tournament at the Alliant Energy PowerHouse in Cedar Rapids.

The Green Devils were able to finish the job with a 25-20 win in the final set.

Johnson had 16 kills and Kisley had 11 kills in the win. Bobinet had 39 assists. All three made the Class 3A state tournament team, and Johnson was the team captain.

“I was not expecting that at all,” Bobinet said. “It was nice.”

It may be too early to tell how historically great this Osage volleyball team was. The Green Devils finished with a 34-2 record and broke many records along the way.

The program had four consecutive trips to the state tournament before this year. And, after earning the first state final appearance in program history – and following it up with a state title – one thing is for certain.

This team made its dreams a reality.

“They wanted to make history,” Tabbert said. “We talked about putting up the volleyball sign down at our state championship signs in Osage.”

They better start preparing that sign.

Gunnar Davis covers education and sports. Reach him via email at Gunnar.Davis@GlobeGazette.com or by phone 641-421-0598.

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