Volleyball: Osakis gets a third straight sweep behind a balanced attack
The Osakis volleyball team trailed 19-15 in the second set on Tuesday night against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle when head coach Kirsten Wessel called a timeout.
The Silverstreaks had controlled the first set in a 25-16 win, but had trouble putting the Thunder away in the second.
Osakis responded after that timeout. The Silverstreaks rattled off six quick points and went on to win 25-21. It was all over after that as they put the match away in a sweep with a 25-15 final in the third.
“I think what we focus on most is just momentum,” senior setter Elli Clasemann said of rallying in that second set. “As soon as we got that first point, we just kept pushing point after point to keep it up. I think our team really came together and worked hard as a family. It was a lot of fun.”
The Silverstreaks had already swept LPGE in a match on Sept. 4 and didn’t leave much doubt in the rematch on Tuesday. The Thunder (1-13-1) have just one win this season, a 3-0 sweep over Upsala, and they were never able to sustain enough momentum to catch Osakis.
“I think we really relied on each individual’s skill tonight,” senior libero Megan Peikert said. “Our setter trusted our passers and our passers trust our setter to get it to the hitters. Then our hitters were able to finish the job and get it done.”
Wessel likes how this team is working together right now. The Silverstreaks do not have one player who dominates the stat sheet every night. Instead, they rely on a host of girls to stay competitive and compete for wins.
“They’re a fun group,” Wessel said. “They’re a very energetic group, and that’s what makes it fun. You see a lot of nights we have kills and digs spread out across the board, but what’s cool is they don’t care who has the kills and the digs. They care that we played together for the win.”
Osakis showed that against the Thunder. Clasemann (24 assists) distributed the ball all over the net as players like Tianna Stanek (10 kills), Laynee Hartshorn (6 kills), Maddie Johanson (6 kills), Kylie Anderson (3 kills) and Jacey Larson (4 kills) took turns getting their swings.
“We played pretty scrappy,” Wessel said. “They did some things different than what we were expecting, and we reacted well to that. I think we made some really good adjustments throughout the night and stayed confident and positive.”
Osakis started the season 2-7, including weekend tournament games, but they have run off five wins in the last six matches. Two of those wins came in the final two matches at the Sauk Rapids-Rice Tournament on Sept. 8.
After a 3-2 loss to Browerville-Eagle Valley, the Silverstreaks have now swept three straight Prairie Conference contests against Swanville, Upsala and LPGE.
“I think we’ve definitely improved from the beginning, and every game we’re getting a little bit better,” Peikert said. “Every practice we work a little bit harder to just get where we want to be and get ready for playoffs.”
Osakis is 7-8 overall and 4-2 in the Prairie Conference. The Silverstreaks are also 6-3 against Section 5A opponents.
Tuesday’s win over the Thunder was another step in the right direction. Osakis hopes to keep progressing and to be competitive in that section tournament in late October.
“I think we are improving as the season goes on,” Clasemann said. “No matter what the records show, at the end of the season once playoffs start, it’s a whole new ballgame. Everyone’s 0-0, and we’re just going to come out stronger than we’ve ever been.”
OSAKIS 3, LPGE 0
(25-16, 25-21, 25-15)
OSAKIS - Abby Randall - 1 block, 2 digs; Brooke Pfeffer - 7 digs; Elli Clasemann - 1 ace, 2 kills, 24 assists, 9 digs; Jacey Larson - 4 kills, 2 blocks, 7 digs; Kylie Anderson - 3 kills, 1 block, 1 assist, 4 digs; Laynee Hartshorn - 6 aces, 6 kills, 1 block, 4 digs; Liz Drevlow - 1 ace, 1 dig; Maddie Johanson - 6 kills, 3 blocks; Megan Peikert - 2 assists, 23 digs; Tianna Stanek - 2 aces, 10 kills, 1 block, 8 digs