Shamrocks play through tragedy

October 31, 2018 GMT

Scotus Central Catholic High School volleyball held off Lakeview High School on Monday night, defeated the Lady Vikes for a third time this season and advanced to the district round on Saturday.

SCC held a two sets to none advantage and was on the verge of sweeping Lakeview for a third time this season until the Lady Vikes overcame an eight-point deficit in the third. They nearly overcame a nine-point hole in the fourth and forced a fifth and deciding set until a kill and a block ended the match with the Shamrocks holding a 24-22 lead at the time.

The win meant a continuation of the season, but, perhaps even more importantly, a successful end to a five-day stretch that took a tremendous emotional toll on everyone involved.

Scotus senior Courtney Kosch learned last week that her father Mike had died unexpectedly just a day after she played her final match of the regular season at Kearney Catholic. The tragic news had an effect on everyone involved and threw the rest of the season into limbo.

How would the Shamrocks respond? How could they respond? Would Kosch play?

During times of loss, the questions always outnumber the answers.

Monday, Kosch and her teammates provided at least one of those answers.

“The girls, I’m really proud of them and proud of Courtney. It’s very unfortunate circumstances that we had to rise above,” coach Janet Tooley said after the match. “The kids, the coaches, the family, the school, we’ve been through some emotional stress and some emotionally trying times.

Kosch played Monday night and was her old reliable self both at the net and in the back row. Whatever thoughts weighed on her heart and mind, she never betrayed any sort of distraction.

In fact, that was the plan all along.

“She was going to play from day one,” Tooley said. “From the get go, that was the plan. She wanted to play, and her mom wanted her to play. Kudos to her.”

A huge contingent of family and friends were on hand to support Kosch and the Shamrocks. At one point between matches, she took a photo with mom, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and others together in the stands on the north end of the Columbus High gym.

“I’m really proud of everyone’s faith and how we’re holding together,” Tooley said.

No doubt Kosch friends, family and supporters will be on hand again on Saturday wherever the Shamrocks play in the district final.

Scotus was one of only five teams to assure itself of a district opportunity on Monday night.

Only four other sub-district sites finished a four-team tournament and advanced the winner onto the next round.

The other seven sites consisted of five teams and completed competition on Tuesday.

Twelve sub-district winners plus four other teams, based on the wildcard standings, will play for a trip to the state tournament on Saturday.

SCC won’t likely know its opponent until sometime Wednesday after Tuesday’s results are posted and the wildcard standings are updated.

Other teams in for sure included sub-district winners Wahoo, Wayne, Omaha Concordia and Chadron. Wahoo Neumann, a 3-0 loser to Wahoo, is likely also in due to its fourth-place standing in the latest wildcard points.

That leaves seven spots remaining for sub-district champions and three for the next highest ranked teams.

Grand Island Central Catholic (fifth in the wildcard) and Minden (eighth) should also advance both teams regardless of the result leaving just two more wild card spots.

Those spots are currently held by Malcolm in 10th and Mitchell in 11th. Lincoln Lutheran played Malcolm on Tuesday night in another sub-district final that featured two teams both in the top-10 in the standings.

Mitchell lost to Chadron on Monday and finished as the sub-district runner-up.

Others in contention include Ogallala in 12th, Douglas County West in 13th and Broken Bow in 16th.

Ogallala and Broken Bow could have earned an automatic berth with wins on Tuesday. Douglas County West needs help after losing to Omaha Concordia on Monday.

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com