By Sam Parsons
The #12 Oskaloosa Indians hosted the Mount Pleasant Panthers in the region semis yesterday and everything went according to plan.
The Panthers were surprise participants to begin with: after going 8-26 in the regular season, they faced Burlington in the quarterfinals, a team that had gone 19-18 to that point and had beaten Mt. Pleasant no less than 5 times during the season. The Panthers shocked Burlington in 5 sets to earn the right to play Osky last night, but the Indians would learn from Burlington’s loss: if they happened to overlook Mt. Pleasant, they sure didn’t play like it.
The first set was in Indian control most of the way. The Panthers needed a small scoring run to make it 14-10 midway through the set, but then Osky caught fire and scored 11 consecutive points courtesy of superb serving from senior setter Pressley Blommers (five ace serves in this scoring run alone) to win 25-10.
A back-and-forth second set followed from that as the Panthers rebounded from Osky’s torrid finish to the first. Late in the set, Osky found themselves up 21-19 but some excellent all-around play from junior Hannah Quang sparked a 4-point run to close it out 25-19.
Set #3 proved to be the final one of the night as Oskaloosa was able to put Mt. Pleasant away. The Panthers had the upper hand early, and led 13-10 midway through the set, but senior Maleah Walker led the Indians on another massive scoring run, notching 13 of the next 14 points. Osky cruised to the finish line 25-17 and secured the 3-0 sweep.
Next up, Oskaloosa will travel to #2 North Scott for the region championship on Tuesday (10/25), searching for a second consecutive state tournament appearance.