Courtney Gapelu and her Fort Osage volleyball teammates served notice in the first match of the Class 4 District 15 Tournament at Truman High School. They came ready to make a statement.

Courtney Gapelu and her Fort Osage volleyball teammates served notice in the first match of the Class 4 District 15 Tournament at Truman High School. They came ready to make a statement.
“We’re a much better team than our record would indicate,” said Gapelu, who served four aces and seven consecutive points to help the Indians earn a surprisingly easy 25-16, 25-15 victory over rival William Chrisman Tuesday night.
“We got up early, got some momentum, and we never lost it. This might be the best match we have played all year.”
The win sets up a 5 p.m. semifinal contest tonight against Truman, a team that owns a 25-17, 25-22 regular season win over Sean Barrett’s 5-21 Indians.
“It all started with our serving tonight,” Barrett said. “It was very crisp and the girls just played so well. We got up big in each game, and we never let Chrisman get back into it.
“They beat us in the regular season, and I think the girls remember that match. We didn’t play very well, and tonight, Chrisman didn’t play very well. I know that Coach (Vanessa) Jones (a former member of the Fort Osage staff) must be very disappointed to see the season end like that.”
Jones sat alone on the bleachers, wondering what happened as her 7-25-2 team saw its season end with a thud.
“We just didn’t play very well, and I have no explanation,” Jones said. “We’ve had some matches like that this season where we just didn’t show up. I don’t know if it’s because Sean’s kids played so well at the start of each game and got the big lead, but we just didn’t have any consistency out there, and that’s been a problem all season.”
One bright spot for the Bears was the play of middle hitter Brittany McQuain, who had four kills and three blocks.
“You always feel bad when your season ends with a loss,” McQuain said. “But you really feel bad when it ends with a loss and you don’t play well. They got the lead, they got the momentum and we were never in either game.
“And I don’t know why. Maybe we were just too excited. Maybe we thought they weren’t that good because we beat them early in the year – but when they came out and played tonight it was like, ‘Whoa! They’re pretty good.’ Maybe they caught us off guard and we just couldn’t respond.”
Fort Osage took 7-1 leads in each game and led 21-10 in the first game before Pam Danielson served six consecutive points to make it a respectable 21-16.
Barrett called a quick timeout and his team scored the next five points, with freshman Setoa Talimatasi leading the way.
“We have some really, really good young kids,” Barrett said. “This has been a tough season because we’ve been a pretty successful team over the past few years. But we’re playing awfully well right now.”
That statement was backed up by Truman coach Denise Craig, who watched the match from the stands.
“Sean’s kids were awesome,” Craig said. “I hope our girls who were here watched that match, because we better be ready to play tomorrow night.”
North Kansas City defeated Kansas City Northeast and Winnetonka beat Kansas City Central in other district matches Tuesday. They will meet in the other semifinal at 6:30 p.m. with the semifinal winners meeting at 8 p.m. for the championship.