The Osakis volleyball team escaped Friday night with a first-round win in the Section 5A-South B first round over Upsala.
The Silverstreaks (11-16) trailed 2-1 before winning the final two sets over the Cardinals (8-19). The third meeting of the year between the two teams didn’t disappoint.
“It was a very emotional match for both teams,” head coach Mitch Mcguire said. “It was back-and-forth all night. It felt good to let out a sigh of relief when we got that last point.”
Upsala trailed by five points early in the first set before going on an 8-1 run to take a 13-11 lead. Osakis tied the game 15-15 before Upsala pulled away for the 25-22 win.
“They were a lot better offensively than the other two times we played them this year,” senior setter Madisen Johanson said. “(Laura) Lange was really good for them. They had really good hitters tonight.”
Osakis answered with a second set win to even the match. The Silverstreaks won 10 consecutive points to pull away from the Cardinals. Junior Cassie Halbur floated the ball over the net for the final kill of the set.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 16-10 lead midway through the third set before McGuire called a timeout. Coming out of the break, the Silverstreaks responded with a six-point stretch to even the score. Both teams traded points before the Cardinals took a late three-point lead. Abby Klien’s blocking point sent Upsala into the fourth set with a 2-1 lead.
“The first time we played them, we beat them in three sets here. Then we went to Upsala and lost in four,” McGuire said. “We both got better as the season went on. We knew that they were going to give us a good game.”
The fourth set went down to the wire. There were several lead changes before Jacey Larson’s kill gave the Silverstreaks a 19-15 lead. Upsala made one last push but couldn’t close the gap in time before Osakis won 25-20.
Osakis kept rolling through the first half of the final set. After taking an 8-3 lead, Upsala head coach Jacob Voss called a timeout.
The Silverstreaks traded points before taking a 14-9 lead. The Cardinals would not go down quietly as they won three straight match-points. Madisen Johanson found an open spot on the court to slam home the winning point to send Osakis to the second round.
“The seniors didn’t want their last game at home be a loss. We want to keep playing,” Madisen Johanson said. “We looked at each other before the fifth set, and we knew that it could be our last. I watched the ball hit the floor in play, and it was so relieving. We gave it our all tonight, and it was enough for the win.”
Madisen Johanson, Alexis Johanson, Laynee Hartshorn and Larson all had 10 kills to lead the team. It was a balanced attack that McGuire likes to see from the sideline.
“We were passing the ball better. That gave a lot of the girls opportunities to make plays tonight,” he said. “We definitely got better as we got deeper into the match. A lot of these girls have been through this before. They knew what it was going to take to win. All I had to do was let them play. It was an exhausting night but a fun one.”
McGuire’s first win as a head coach came against Upsala in September. Now he has his first playoff win in his career. It’s a personal milestone he won’t forget.
“It’s been an up-and-down season, but tonight was a good night,” McGuire said. “I thought we had a great practice yesterday, and we got better at our out-of-system plays. About 75 percent of plays are out of the system we run. We adapted well to those. It just feels good to get that first one out of the way.”
The Silverstreaks will play the top seed in their pod on Tuesday night. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (20-8) beat Osakis 3-0 in late August.
“We did enough tonight, but there are still things we can do better,” Madisen Johanson said. “We need to get better at our serving and receiving. Our passes need to be more accurate to set up the hitters for easier kills. No game is easy this time of year, but we’re excited to keep playing.”
OSAKIS 3, UPSALA 2
(22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20,15-12)
OSAKIS STATS- Abby Breiter 4 digs; Alexis Johanson 1 ace, 10 kills, 3 blocks, 2 digs; Alli Rach 2 assists, 12 digs; Cassie Halbur 4 kills, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 1 dig; Emily Waldorf 5 kills, 1 block; Greta Faber 1 assist, 6 digs; Jacey Larson 1 ace, 10 kills, 2 blocks, 3 assists, 14 digs; Jose Hartshorn 11 assists, 6 digs; Laynee Hartshorn 10 kills, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 6 digs; Madisen Johanson 2 aces, 10 kills, 2 blocks, 16 assists, 16 digs; Shelbe Schmidt 4 digs