MOUND CITY — Oswego made an early statement on Saturday, defeating Chetopa in the championship match of the Three Rivers League Preseason Tournament.

It took a decisive third set for Oswego to capture the title over Chetopa, winning 2-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-20). 

“We struggled a little in finding our identity as a team and what our individual roles were,” Oswego head coach Janna Olson said. “At practice we made some changes and it seemed to help the girls gel. Saturday they played really well at times and did some great things. We began to pass better and play stronger at the net as the day wore on.  What I am most proud of is the determination that the girls displayed all day. Several times during the day they were down and they would battle back to get the win.”

En route to its three-set title win over rival Chetopa, Oswego defeated Altoona-Midway 2-0 (25-8, 25-11), Marmaton Valley 2-0 (25-9, 25-23), Uniontown 2-0 (25-23, 25-10), Colony Crest 2-0 (25-11, 25-12) and Yates Center 2-0 (25-23, 25-16).

In the championship match, Shanler McNickle paced Oswego with 13 kills while adding four blocks. Abby Long and Madison Stephens both added 10 kills, while Allie Vail notched a match-high 31 assists.

Over the course of the tournament, McNickle tallied 45 kills, 66 digs and seven blocks. Stephens added 36 kills while Long had 23 kills. Maya Espeseth recorded 65 digs, while Vail had 124 assists. 

As for Chetopa, Samantha Blundell had 17 kills in the championship loss while Brali Conard had 12 kills. Setter Torrie Albertson added 18 assists.

“We started the day off pretty good,” Chetopa head coach Jill Blackledge said. “Once we got to that championship game, my girls were tired. We had some girls hurting and with only one sub, it’s hard for them. They played hard. Sam and Brali were on fire at the net and Torrie did a great job of setting. We are still trying to get our younger girls some confidence at the net so they can take some of the swings. Overall they played well.”

In other matches for Chetopa at the tournament, Chetopa beat Pleasanton 2-0 (25-17, 25-13). Blundell had seven kills while Conard added six with Albertson tallying nine assists.

Chetopa swept St. Paul 2-0 (25-21, 25-17) with Blundell registering 11 kills and Conard adding six. Albertson had 10 assists.

The Green Hornets also swept Jayhawk-Linn 2-0 (25-22, 25-14). Blundell notched 11 kills, Conard added 10 and Albertson had 14 assists.

Against Northeast, Chetopa earned a 2-0 (25-22, 25-9) sweep. Blundell had 10 kills while Conard had eight while Albertson assisted 17 of the team’s 18 kills.

The Green Hornets also defeated Southeast 2-0 (25-19, 25-16). Blundell led Chetopa with 10 kills, while Southeast’s Sara Schirinzi paced the Lancers with four kills. 

The Green Hornets also traveled to Galena for a quad last Thursday, where Chetopa went 3-0 with wins over St. Paul, Galena and Northeast.

“We started off very slow and disoriented against Northeast,” Blackledge said. “We just froze and forgot what we were supposed to do. We finally picked up our rhythm against St. Paul and hit the ball hard, blocked and played the net well. “

Against St. Paul, Chetopa won 2-0 (25-16, 25-22). Conard led Chetopa with 14 kills while Blundell added nine. Albertson chipped in 17 assists.

In Chetopa’s match against Galena, the Green Hornets won 2-0 (25-21, 25-20). Blundell paced her squad with 10 kills with Conard adding seven. MacKaylie Moore chipped in three kills, while Albertson had 12 assists.

Chetopa added a 2-0 (25-19, 25-18) sweep of Northeast. Conard had 10 kills, Blundell had six and Andie Johnson had three. Albertson had 10 assists.

Chetopa, which is 8-1 overall on the season, resumes its season on Tuesday at Altoona-Midway, while Oswego heads to Neodesha.

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