Overcoming the odds:

Green Devils rally from two sets down, back to state

By Kristi Nixon

CHARLES CITY — Down 2-0 against No. 5 Sumner-Fredericksburg, ninth-ranked Osage started an unbelievable comeback to earn its sixth straight state berth.

The defending Class 3A champions, Osage will take on the 2A field on Tuesday, Nov. 2 to start against second-seeded Wilton.

The Osage volleyball team reacts to match point against Sumner-Fredericksburg on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at Charles City in order to make a return trip to the state volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids. The Green Devils will start at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2 against Wilton. EJ Photo/Kristi Nixon

The Green Devils started the run in that third set with four straight kills by University of Northern Iowa commit Meredith Street that put them up 9-4 which culminated in a 16-25, 21-25, 25-20, 27-25, 15-6 victory.

Unofficially, Street tallied 21 kills in the match and put down seven in the third set.

“I was definitely feeling it,” Street said, “our setter (Addy Grimm) was setting great and was able to get me the ball. It was an awesome feeling and my team was helping me on where to hit. It was such a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Claudia Aschenbrenner, who unofficially added 11 kills, making it the third straight post-season game she finished with double-digit kills, notched the match point.

“The one before that I hit it out and I said, ‘that’s not happening again,’” Aschenbrenner said. “I hit it straight down and it’s an amazing feeling. It doesn’t hit you until the whistle blows and then you’re like, ‘oh my goodness!’ It’s an amazing feeling.”

Grimm said she felt like she started distributing the ball differently starting in that third set. She also said that the team’s attitude changed.

“I felt like I was more confident with my sets, I think,” Grimm said. “I was getting more sets to them and we were able to get more kills.

“I think it was just a change of mentality and energy. We started to pick it up. We said, ‘OK, if we want this we have to do it now.’ I was doubting myself, but I had to bring it back. I thought, ‘we had to get this. It’s all or nothing.’ I said that in the huddle.”

Coach Bryan Tabbert said it was hard to say what turned the tide for his Green Devils.

“Sometimes that’s just the mystery of volleyball where momentum just silently changes teams,” Tabbert said. “We started going and that’s what happened. The third, fourth and fifth set we started playing Osage volleyball, were like ourselves a little more.”

The state experience this group has proved to be a big advantage in the comeback.

“That’s the thing with this team,” Tabbert said. “I told the girls in the huddle about the Assumption game (from last year). We were down by six and a set and we came back to win that. I told the girls we’ve been down by more on a bigger stage.

“(They) put it all together and the girls came through.”

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