Volleyball is a game of runs and momentum swings. The Ottawa High school varsity squad has been involved in tight sets all season.
One play here or there have decided sets and matches.
"That is how volleyball works," Cyclone coach Laura Jeannin said. "It is a huge momentum game."
Ottawa was embroiled in another nail-biter Thursday in a home dual against Emporia. The final two sets were separated by two points. Emporia ended up winning 3-1 (25-21, 14-25, 27-25, 25-23).
"There were some huge momentum changes tonight," Jeannin said. "Some were player directed, some were situational. In volleyball, you have to take advantage of that momentum. When you have the momentum, you have to extend the lead."
Ottawa rode the momentum in the fourth set to an 19-11, but it switched and the Cyclones never recovered.
"We had opportunities to finish that fourth set," Jeannin said. "We did not break away. All of sudden they got the momentum and we did not respond.
"We are doing a great job competing with teams. Right now our struggle is finishing."
Ottawa plays a tough schedule against tradition-rich programs and state-ranked teams,
"That is what makes us better," Jeannin said. "We like to rise to that challenge. We want to play in a way that will our make us our best coming down the stretch. This group has done a nice job coming out to compete. They come out with that mindset, we can compete with anyone.
"I want them to continue to fight, continue to push. Tonight, we did not do that quite as well as we have had."
Ottawa has grown a lot in the physical and mental aspects of the game from a year ago.
"Mistakes are going to happen throughout the match," Jeannin said. "We have to find a way to recover from mistakes or recover from momentum changes. It is not what happened, it is how you respond to it. We can respond to it, learn from it and take it into Saturday."
Jeannin said the players love to play and be on the court.
"These kids have played volleyball for years," she said. "They have taken ownership in their team. We have all the pieces to be successful."
Ottawa plays Saturday in the OHS Invitational against Louisburg, Basehor-Linwood and Meige.
"We are going to see three very, very, very good teams," Jeannin said.