SEMINOLE — Osceola senior Morgan O’Malia remembers beating Seminole when she was a freshman.
Since then, O’Malia and her Warrior teammates have gone 0-for against the Warhawks.
On Tuesday, O’Malia was determined to get one more victory over her school’s archrival before completing her Osceola career. O’Malia led the Warriors with a team-high 16 kills, but none was more important than her last in Osceola’s 25-22, 12-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-12 victory.
“Even though it’s not a district game it’s fun to play them,” O’Malia said. “It’s so nice to come out and win, especially in such a close game.”
Osceola (1-1) made it closer than it had to. Leading two games to one, the Warriors had several chances to close out Game 4.
Osceola had three match points ahead 24-21, but a serving error, a hitting error and an ace from Seminole’s Jennie Sittloh evened the score at 24. Seminole (0-1) got a double-team block from Amber Peone and Tori Ligrani to pull ahead, and Peone blocked one by herself to send the match to a Game 5.
There, O’Malia shined. She put the Warriors ahead 13-11 with her 15th kill then ended the match with her 16th, touching a 50/50 ball into an open area to finish off the Warhawks.
“There’s a reason she’s a captain,” Osceola coach Ryan Kramer said. “She is our most angry player, which I like. She plays angry on the floor. Every single point, she feels like somehow she’s got to find a way to win it.”
Osceola built a five-point lead late in Game 1 and closed out Seminole behind consecutive kills from Katherine Mulroy. Seminole, showing an ability to come from behind throughout the match, led start-to-finish in Game 2, reeling off seven-straight points at the end.
At 23-all in a crucial Game 3, Osceola took advantage of a Seminole serve that went in the net and Molly Rekstis’ unreturned serve to pull ahead. The Warhawks had 36 serving errors.
“One minute we’re up, the next we’re down,” Seminole coach Dexter Rogers said. “We have to find a way to play more consistent.”
Marissa Lisenbee paced the Seminole attack with game highs for kills (20) and blocks (seven).