The Osage volleyball team began its state tournament run in grand fashion on Wednesday afternoon, as the Green Devils beat Grundy Center in a three-set sweep at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. The win earned Osage a spot in the state semifinals.
Osage dominated the match from start to finish, winning the first set 25-17, and then taking the second and third sets by scores of 25-14, and 25-16.
“We’re pretty excited,” head coach Bryan Tabbert said. “It’s pretty great to come down to state, and get that first win out of the way.”
Junior Paige Kisley led the team in kills with 16, while also contributing nine digs to the effort. Setter Ellie Bobinet, who leads the state of Iowa in assists, had 26 on the day, with a team-high nine digs. While the offense was impressive for Osage, the defense deserved nearly as much credit.
The Spartans finished the match with just 26 kills, compared to 39 for the Green Devils. Emy Kracht had a team-high nine kills for the Spartans while also leading the team with nine assists.
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The Green Devils made it back to the state semifinals for the second straight year. In 2018, Osage fell to Kuemper Catholic by a score of 3-2 in the semis, valuable experience for this season’s veterans.
“Having that state experience for these older girls is tremendous,” Tabbert said. “For our two freshman in the lineup, a little bit of nerves maybe coming in, but the older girls are able to talk to them, and explain what is happening, … overall the girls have been great to the freshmen, helping them keep calm and get used to the exciting state atmosphere.”
The Green Devils will play on Thursday at 4 p.m., against No. 1 seeded Western Christian. The winner of that match will earn a spot in the state finals, against either Beckman Catholic or Clarion-Goldfield-Dows.
“You’ve got to take care of business when it’s time to go, but you only have four years of high school, and you need to enjoy the experience,” Tabbert said “Going to state volleyball is a great experience. Some of these girls have been here four years in a row, but you can’t take that for granted.”