It was a very good week for the Osceola Chieftain volleyball team. Osceola entered the week with a 3-0 Middle Border conference record with a pair of tough contests coming up on their schedule. The Chieftains traveled to Prescott to take on the Cardinals and then had a home match with the undefeated St. Croix Central Panthers. Osceola did what they needed to do, first coming home with a win in four games at Prescott and then sweeping the Panthers in three straight games. With two conference games left the Chieftains are the only undefeated team in the MBC at 5-0.
Osceola got off to a fast start in Prescott taking the first game 25-20 and followed that up with a convincing 25-11 win in game two. The Cardinals fought back to close the deficit to two games to one with a 25-22 win in the third game. The Chieftains finished off the pesky Prescott team with a 25-22 win in game four.
The win set up a match of two unbeaten MBC teams two days later in Osceola. St. Croix Central came to challenge the Chieftains with the winners gaining the inside track on the conference title. Osceola never trailed in the first game after starting out with a 4-0 lead. SCC closed to within a point five times, the last one at 13-12, but could never quite catch the Chieftains. Osceola stretched their lead to five at 17-12 and then 19-14 and then pulled away from the Panthers. Addi Anderson served the game point for the Chieftains as Osceola came away with a 25-16 win in the first game.
St. Croix Central was determined to even the match in the second game as they broke to a 12-6 lead. Osceola did not panic and chipped away, eventually tying the Panthers at 15. SCC got their final lead of the game at 16-15 but the Chieftains scored 10 of the game’s last 15 points to edge the Panthers 25-21.
“Great week in conference getting two important victories,” Osceola coach Holly Johnson said. “(We) showed our mental toughness in game two against St. Croix Central coming from a six point deficit, closing the gap and securing the win.”
The big Chieftain comeback seemed to take the wind out of the Panthers’ sails. Osceola broke to an 11-0 lead in the third game behind the pinpoint serves of Hailey Ebert. St. Croix Central fought back and got to within five points at 23-18 but the Chieftains secured the sweep by taking the last two points of the game to win 25-18.
“At the beginning of the year our team picked the phrase ‘Rise’ as our team saying,” Osceola junior Mathea Leiskau said. “We knew we were going to face challenges and adversity through the season and that we would have to be able to bounce back and be resilient. Things aren’t always going to go our way but if we focus on the two things that we have complete control of, our effort and our attitudes, then we will ‘Rise’ to our fullest potential.”
Last Saturday Osceola traveled to Altoona and competed in the Rails’ tournament. The Chieftains had a good day against some impressive competition. Osceola defeated Eau Claire Memorial (25-20, 26-28, 15-13) and Cadott (23-25, 28-26, 15-12) but lost to Hudson (25-23, 25-18), Grantsburg (32-30, 25-13) and Eau Claire North (26-24, 25-18).
“We displayed our toughness again against Cadott being down 12-6 in game three and pulling out a win,” Johnson said. “(We are) taking strides each week in the right direction.”