OSAGE — When Osage sat down at the beginning of the season to plot out its goals for the year, the first thing on the list was winning a conference title. For a team fresh off a state tournament berth, this was mission No. 1 and everything else could come after.
The Green Devils wrapped up a perfect conference slate Tuesday night with a win in straight sets over Northwood-Kensett, 25-9, 25-7, 25-13, to win the Top of Iowa Conference East Division title outright. It’s Osage's third TIC East title in a row, and second straight outright crown.
“One of our goals was not only to win the conference, but to not drop a set in the conference, which we did that,” Osage coach Andie Olson said. “We’ve really tried to chunk our season into little goals and this was goal No. 1.”
Along the way, little milestones were checked off as well. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Havel recorded her 1,000th-career kill on Saturday, and junior setter Rylie Olson notched her 2,000th-career assist.
Another milestone was also ticked off in the process as Olson broke the school’s assists record. Needing 29 to break the record previously held by Jenna Malacek, Olson eclipsed the mark in the third set on a 34-assist evening.
“It’s just nice because all the hard work you put in and all the time you put in just to get recognized,” Rylie said.
Added her coach and mom, “Obviously she’s surrounded by tons of good players over the years because she can’t get the assists without the pass and the hitters, so that’s something we talk a lot about. Our kids are hitting some huge milestones this year and they’re going to continue — this junior class and our freshmen.”
Osage had all parts of its game rolling Tuesday night with Rylie distributing the ball.
Havel and Sydney Midlang racked up 12 kills apiece to lead the Green Devils’ attack, and Brenna Jacobs and Dani Johnson recorded eight apiece.
Senior Sophie Miller had an 18-for-18 night at the service line, including a run of 10 straight points in the second set, and added three aces. Midlang had four aces of her own.
The win came on the heels of one of the best tournament performances they’ve had this season Saturday at Waverly-Shell Rock when the Green Devils finished 5-1 and knocked off a few ranked teams in the process.
With a conference title now in the bag, the next goal comes in the form of a regional title.
“I think it was a good reality check for us because our conference we played well and we rolled through, but to play the teams ranked in 5A, 4A and ranked in 2A, it feels good to beat them,” Rylie Olson said. “It’s like ‘we can do it.’ So if we can beat them, imagine what we can do in our class.”