Prep Volleyball

Osage wins rubber match with Grundy Center at state volleyball, emphatically

Green Devils earn a 2A semifinal date with powerhouse Western Christian

CEDAR RAPIDS — Moving down a class generally means a small step down in competition.

For the Osage Green Devils, though ...

“We moved down to 2A, and everybody started talking about Western Christian right away,” said Osage Coach Bryan Tabbert.

Bring ‘em on.

The fifth-ranked Green Devils claimed their rubber match with No. 6 Grundy Center and did it emphatically, sweeping the Spartans, 25-17, 25-14, 25-16, in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the state volleyball tournament Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.

“Our team chemistry really pushed us along,” said Paige Kisley, who stands a modest 5-foot-7 but knocked down 16 kills. “We just had to take a breath and enjoy the moment.”

The scores indicated superiority by the Green Devils (37-6), who split a pair of matches with Grundy Center (32-9) in a tournament at Waverly on Oct. 5.

This one wasn’t close.

“We wanted this so bad,” libero Jaden Francis said.

So now, it’s a Thursday encounter with No. 1 Western Christian (39-5), which reached the semifinals for the 19th consecutive year by sweeping Hudson. First serve is 4 p.m.

“We look forward to the challenge,” Tabbert said. “It’s something we crave.”

Osage was a 3A semifinalist last year.

Tabbert is in first year as the Green Devils’ head coach. He had been an assistant for two years, and previous to that was a head coach at Crystal Lake WCLT for one year and at North Butler for four.

Danielle Johnson added nine kills for the Green Devils. Ellie Bobinet collected 26 assists.

Emy Kracht led Grundy Center with nine kills. The Spartans hit only .052 as a team.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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