Mitch McGuire’s first win as the head coach of the Osakis volleyball team was long overdue.
On Tuesday night, the Silverstreaks took a step in the right direction with a 3-0 sweep of Upsala. The win was their first of the season and one that snapped a six-match losing streak.
“Before this game, we set three goals,” McGuire said. “We wanted to improve on our communication, positioning and our out-of-system plays. We had fewer errors on attacking shots, and I thought we were better prepared on balls hit outside of our system tonight.”
Osakis (1-6) jumped out to a 7-5 lead in the first set after trailing 4-1. Coming out of an Upsala timeout, the Silverstreaks won six consecutive points to take a 21-14 lead.
Madisen Johanson lobbed the ball over the hands of two Cardinal defenders for the 25th point. Osakis took the first set 25-19.
Osakis took another early lead – going up 12-8 in the second set. After Upsala took another timeout, the Silverstreaks increased their lead to 18-11. The Cardinals mounted a comeback late in the set. After cutting Osakis’ lead to three, Johanson earned another set point for Osakis to take the 25-20 win.
Going into the third set, McGuire shook up the lineup. With room for error, he was able to experiment with different parts of his roster on the court.
“This is a very deep team. A lot of girls played tonight,” McGuire said. “We pulled four girls from JV and two of the girls that played tonight are seventh graders. It says a lot about what we are looking forward to in the future.”
Upsala didn’t go down quietly. The Cardinals held a 16-13 lead early in the third set.
It was only the second time Osakis trailed on Tuesday. A Jaycey Larson spike ended the six-point drought for Osakis and cut the lead down to two. Two points later, Larson came back with another kill shot to tie the game.
“It takes leadership and girls stepping up to erase a lead,” M. Johanson said. “It takes everyone realizing that they need to fulfill their role. We need to play to win and make things happen.”
The Silverstreaks capped off the sweep with another set-point lob from Johanson. Osakis is now 1-6 on the season and trying to trend in the right direction.
“After every game we’ve played, the girls have been standing tall,” McGuire said. “It’s great to see their confidence growing and to watch them rip the bandaid off tonight. We are 1-0 in the conference now and things are looking up.”
Getting the first win of the season took longer than expected. Tuesday night hopes to serve as a confidence boost for Osakis going forward.
“We are really hyped right now,” Johanson said. “It was a good win for us to start and hopefully we can get on a roll and use it as momentum for the future.”
Even though it took seven matches, McGuire has seen his girls progress the way he had hoped when the season started.
“We had a tough tournament in Albany,” McGuire said. “We played against teams that were one or two classes higher than us. We won a few sets and competed with them. We lost in five sets to Paynesville last Thursday, so we are seeing a lot of improvement from where we started already.”
On Thursday, the Silverstreaks will host the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Thunder. Osakis is looking to climb out of the six-match hole from the start of its season one day at a time.
“We need to take our energy from tonight and bring it into practice,” Johanson said. “We need to continue to improve ourselves, our skills and keep pushing to get better in each game we play.”
OSAKIS 3, UPSALA 0
(25-19, 25-20, 25-21)
OSAKIS- Abby Breiter 2 digs; Abby Randall- 1 ace, 2 kills, 6 digs; Alexis Johanson- 1 ace, 8 kills, 2 digs, 1 block; Alli Rach- 1 assist; Cassie Halbur- 2 kills; 1 assist 2 blocks; Greta Faber- 2 digs; Haylee Jern- 1 kill; 1 dig; Jaycey Larson- 1 ace, 7 kills, 2 assists; 11 digs; Jose Hartshorn- 1 ace, 9 assists, 1 dig; Laynee Hartshorn- 2 kills, 1 block; 1 assist, 7 digs; Madisen Johanson- 1 ace, 9 kills, 12 assists, 9 digs