Osage volleyball coach Lori Klaus wanted to see some signs of confidence and she did not have to look for long as her team took care of business in a three-set sweep over the Tigers (25-11, 25-12, 25-5).

Osage coach Lori Klaus challenged her team to play at a high level Thursday night in a Tri-County Conference showdown with Versailles. 

She wanted to see some signs of confidence and she did not have to look for long as her team took care of business in a three-set sweep over the Tigers (25-11, 25-12, 25-5). 

“We were focused on taking care of the ball, minimizing unforced errors and simply playing good volleyball for three straight sets. I was so pleased with how this team rose to that challenge,” Klaus stated. 

“We have been lacking in confidence with some of our offense and we were able to gain some confidence and attack different parts of the court we have struggled with in a few of our early games.”

Things went so well, in fact, that the Indians were able to finish out the third and final set on a 10-0 run. Senior Carly Hambly served up a few aces during that stretch and finished the night with nine of her team’s 11 total service aces.  

“That is pretty fun, but it takes a lot of effort as a team to stay focused for that long, especially when we are doing really good,” the senior said of finishing the night strong. “I’m just glad we stuck with it through all three games, really played hard all the way through and did not let up at all.”  

Versailles (0-4, 0-1 TCC) had a few flashes of some good plays among the three sets, but Osage was simply consistent in all facets of the game while the Tigers were not. The Indians led by as many as 14 in each of the first two sets.  

“I would definitely say our serve and pass was inconsistent to an extent, but we came out of holes after we got aced and came back with some passes,” said Versailles coach Katelyn McKinnis, who is in her first year leading the program. “We just need to learn ow to terminate off of those passes with our attackers.”

And to do that, McKinnis said it will take some energy from her players. It will start right away with practice on Friday and time will soon tell how the team responds with a trip to Sherwood Monday night at 7:15 p.m. 

“It was lacking a little tonight and they did not seem like themselves but mostly tomorrow’s practice will be focused on defense and freeing up the energy from those digs,” the coach pointed out. “They only seemed to get excited with some kills, but defensive plays are just as exciting. So, that is the plan tomorrow- energy.”

Versailles freshman Maycee Edgar and sophomore Sandalyn Morris finished with one service ace each and senior Klarissa Franzisko led the attack with four kills. Edgar and Franzisko also put up six digs each along with freshman Mariah Stemper.

Osage’s offensive attack was led by senior Sara Wolf who finished the night with 17 kills. Hambly came in with nine while junior Adrienne Dubbs finished with six. Meanwhile, senior Paige Rowland fed her teammates with 31 assists. On the defensive end, Rowland also led the way with 11 digs and junior Shelby Spriggs had four while a trio of Indians in Wolf, senior Alisa Boswell and Hambly had three each. Boswell also put up two blocks. 

“They had a pretty good serve and pass team,” McKinnis said of the opponent. “Their serve-receive was pretty consistent and offensively, they moved around quite a bit which threw off our blockers.” 

And while it may have been a good night overall, Klaus knows there is always room for improvement as she continually seeks to help her team improve.

“I would still like to see us above 92 percent serving. Last night we were at 90.4 percent,” Klaus said Thursday night. “However, this was a step in the right direction for serving. It was the first night we were above 90 percent.” 

Osage (4-1, 1-1 TCC) has actually won six straight sets after also sweeping Cole Camp on Tuesday. The Indians will gladly take it but if a fourth or even a fifth and final set has to be played in the future, that is just fine with Hambly. After all, she and her fellow teammates know how easily it can all be taken away in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It has been kind of difficult, but I think we are doing ok and I think we like getting the opportunity to play for longer because we do not know when we are not going to get to play anymore,” the senior said. “The more we can play now, the better.”

Up next for the Indians is a trip to Camdenton for another Lake area battle Monday night at 6:30 p.m. Osage has some confidence, but the team will soon find out if it can be maintained. 

“I think it really boosts our confidence, especially going in to a week next week with three really hard games,” Hambly said as her team will also face Waynesville and Eugene. “I think it is good we pulled together a good game, played hard all three sets and walked away with a lot of confidence.”