Veteran leadership and contributions from one of the youngest members on the team helped Fort Osage beat a familiar foe in the opening round of district volleyball play Monday night at Winnetonka.

Veteran leadership and contributions from one of the youngest members on the team helped Fort Osage beat a familiar foe in the opening round of district volleyball play Monday night at Winnetonka.
The Indians were led by the power serving of senior middle hitter Courtney Gapelu and the all-around floor game of sophomore outside hitter Setoa Talimatasi in its 25-15, 25-27, 25-13 win over William Chrisman in Class 4 District 15 play.
“It felt really good,” Talimatasi said of leading Fort Osage past William Chrisman. “We really wanted to beat the Bears.”
With a 25-15 game already in the bag, the Indians were sparked by Gapelu’s back-to-back power-driven aces in the second game and  jumped out to a 9-4 lead that prompted Bears head coach Vanessa Jones to call a timeout.
The timeout must have worked because Gapelu’s error on the next serve was followed by consecutive points by the Bears and what seemed like a two-game rout in the making became a ballgame.
Down 10-7, the Bears clawed back to make it 10-10. The Bears then took the lead as Jones advised her team from the bench to “keep pushing.” From there, the Bears outscored the Indians 16-14 to take the second game. The win gave the fifth-seeded Bears hope that it could upset the fourth-seeded Indians.
However, Talimatasi took over in the third game with timely kills, hustling digs and inspired play, ending the Bears’ hope and their season.
Talimatasi led the Indians with 14 digs, but her all-around play was crucial to the win, Indians head coach Sean Barrett said.
“Setoa – the first and third games – I thought she did really well,” Barrett said. “I thought she went into a funk in the second game, but she jumped back and played well that third game. That’s good, because we needed her.”
Talimatasi said she was zeroed in for one reason and one reason only – the senior class of Chelsea Turnham, Sarah Iloilo, Brooke Farmer and Gapelu.
“It’s really the seniors,” Talimatasi said of her inspired play. “It’s all about the seniors.”
On the Bears’ side, Jones said a lack of communication and cohesiveness doomed her team, which finished 6-22-1.
“It’s a battle we have been fighting all season long,” Jones said. “Unfortunately it decided to rear its ugly head tonight.”
Despite the loss, William Chrisman senior Kelly Crawford said the Bears are not going to hang their head. Crawford led the Bears with 14 digs.
“I just told the team it wasn’t our best game, but I’m not holding any regrets,” Crawford said. “I thought we fought that second game, but that third game didn’t really go well. They started off with a (10-3) lead, and it was really hard to catch up. I just really hope the girls get it together next year. I believe in them.”
The Indians (10-16-3) were 3-1 against William Chrisman this season and face top-seeded Truman in the semifinals tonight at 7:30 at Winnetonka. The Indians lost to Truman in two sets in the Truman Tournament earlier this season.
“We’re excited to go in and play them,” said Indians junior Elaine McAlister, who had 12 kills against William Chrisman. “We’ve played them once this year and we did pretty good. We’re thinking we can go in and win.”