Indians push win streak to nine games
School of the Osage has been on a roll.
The Indians have not lost since falling to Blair Oaks on August 24 and took an eight-game winning streak to rival Eldon Thursday night. The Mustangs were not able to slow down the Indians either as Osage secured a two-set win by final scores of 25-22 and 25-18.
“We all feel pretty good about it, not going to lie,” Osage senior setter Rose Colonius said of the streak. “But we are not cocky about it. Most of us don’t even realize we are 11-1… We are just trying to play our game and play to the best of our ability.”
Osage showed plenty of ability Thursday night. With the score tied at 21 in the first set and both sides trading punches in a tense battle, the Indians picked up two straight points and held onto the lead the rest of the way. A service ace from junior Karli Kempf sealed it. Osage coach Travis Squire said there may have been a few pregame jitters, but his club showed its resiliency and settled right in.
“We started out rough because of nerves… Our team played nervous because this is a game we want to win and it took about eight volleys to see that we had settled in,” the coach said. “We were down, but not down big, and we just battled back. Like I told them in the locker room, I felt like they played when they were down the same way they played when they were up and that is what you want as a coach. You want a level-headed team and that is the sign of a mature team too. We have a lot of seniors and kids who have been here before getting excited for an Eldon game, but then they get on the floor, calm down and play.”
The second set started out close as well, but Kempf’s serves proved tough to handle as Osage took a 7-7 tie and rattled off five straight points to take the lead for good. The Indians finished the night connecting on 85 percent of their serves and Kempf had three of the team’s six service aces. Eldon closed the gap to three points twice, but the Mustangs could not find a way to erase the deficit.
“We just did not execute our game plan. We played a little fearful and our whole game was trying to focus and we just did not have it tonight,” Eldon coach Laura Baucom said. “We had a lock of communication and we need to work on that, executing and being confident… When you come into a gym you have to play and we just didn’t. We were not determined enough to win it.”
Colonius, who is used to setting up kills for her teammates, put down the game-winning kill and the senior said it was nice to switch roles for a change.
“I don’t normally get many kills so getting a kill feels pretty good,” she said. “I was setting to my hitters and Sara (Wolf) and Carson (Wood) were hitting well tonight. I can always count on them to slam the ball down so I feel comfortable with setting them. That was what kept our momentum going as well as good passes.”
Baucom noticed those passes as well.
“Rose can do anything with a bad pass. She turns a bad pass into some kind of offense for her team and is a great little setter so she hurt us,” the coach pointed out.
Wood paced the Osage attack as the junior finished the night with six kills and senior Kenzie King got into the mix as well with four kills of her own. Squire said there was plenty of praise to go around Thursday night.
“I thought for Sara, it was one of the most intense game she was in for the year and I’ll give her a big shoutout for holding in there,” the coach said. “I thought Karli had a much better defensive night and both Carson and Rose just had incredible nights tonight.”
Eldon falls to 12-4-1 on the year and 2-3 in the Tri-County Conference. The Mustangs have shown plenty of fight, but Baucom said it comes down to being able to thrive in any situation and make plays in the face of pressure.
“That is what we are going to practice,” she said. “Just playing under pressure and being able to handle the pressure.”
Osage improves to 11-1 and 2-1 in the conference. With each win during this streak, Squire said the team is gelling together more and more.
“We have a solid core of girls out there that have played together for three years now and some of them for four years,” he noted. “It is knowing your players, knowing your teammate and trusting that the person next to you is going to do their job. It takes time to develop and I am going to miss it when it is gone.”
At the same time, the coach knows that no game on the schedule can be taken for granted. The win streak has been fun, but the focus is on how strong the team will finish.
“I think we are enjoying this, but you don’t look at the games you played. You look at the games ahead of you and we have some tough games ahead of us,” he said. “There is also a caution that goes off in the back of my head too knowing that we can be right back out of a game in just a couple of minutes. I never want them to turn around and smile and think they’ve won the game before that last whistle. We have been there before and they know that.
“We know we have a very strong district, almost a brutally cruel and tough district to play in, so we have to peak at the end of the season. We cannot peak at 11-1,” he added.
Eldon visits Southern Boone on Monday at 5:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Osage was scheduled to play in the Rolla Tournament over the weekend and the Indians will host Skyline on Monday at the same time.
This story will be updated with Eldon stats as soon as they become available