CEDAR RAPIDS — The message was simple and clear.
Osage still had work to do and the Green Devils were ready to get the job done.
Facing elimination, sixth-ranked Osage captured the final two sets to defeat No. 4 Davenport Assumption, 25-22, 22-25, 17-25, 15-9, in a Class 3A state volleyball quarterfinal Wednesday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“We both played really hard like you want to advance at state, so everyone is going for everything,” Osage senior middle hitter Sydney Midlang said. “It was a good game to play in.”
The Green Devils (30-6) return to the state semifinals and that was the theme when they huddled after going down, 2-1, in sets.
“We came here to win a state championship and we needed to win two more sets to play on,” Midlang said. “That’s what we did.”
Osage responded with a quick start in the fourth, building leads of 4-1 and 11-4. The Green Devils closed strong, winning six of the last eight points. Danielle Johnson had three of her game-high 19 kills, including set point.
“We lost some energy but we just knew we weren’t done with this season,” Johnson said. “We all just picked it up and played for each other.”
Momentum remained in the Green Devils’ favor, capitalizing on three Assumption errors for a 3-0 lead in the decisive set. They also managed a three-point run to extend their lead to 11-6, getting a kill and an ace from Midlang.
Starting the final set strong was vital.
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“That’s what we needed to do,” Midlang said. “Our goal is to go little games of three. When we got up three, we were like three more and three more after that. That’s what we do to keep our momentum going.”
Osage took the opening set, scoring six of the final eight points. The Green Devils produced a balanced attack. Midlang finished with 13 kills and Paige Kisley and Kaebre Sullivan added 11 apiece. Rylie Olson tallied a whopping 47 assists.
“I think it gives us a lot of versatility and it’s hard to defend us because you have to pay attention to our middles, but you have to respect our outsides,” Olson said. “You can’t cover everybody and we know that. When we’re in system, it’s tough to defend us.
“Rylie does a great job of finding matchups through the net and making sure she’s creating those for those kids. But, it comes from that pass and the kids finish it.”
Assumption responded after the first-set hiccup, using two Carly King kills and a block from her to close the seesaw second set.
The Knights (31-6) controlled the third set, using a seven-point run for an early advantage. Assumption closed with the last five points and seven of the last eight, including another kill from King, who finished with 16 kills to lead Assumption. Teammate Emma Schubert had 13 and 11 digs.
Despite the deficit, the Green Devils remained confident.
“They kept their composure,” Olson said. “They stayed focused and disciplined when we asked them to be.”
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