When her Pierz teammates told Kiara Olesch her stat line from the Pioneers game last week against St. Cloud Cathedral she didn’t believe them.
The senior tallied the rare 20-20-20 game with 22 kills, 21 set assists and 26 digs as Pierz won the Granite Ridge Conference game 3-2 winning the fifth set 15-13.
“I was like ‘um, the stats aren’t always right?’ Like sometimes they see the wrong number and put the stats to the wrong person,” Olesch said when her teammates told her about her 20-20-20 performance. “It was very satisfying to put up those scores and it just shows how much I’ve improved this season in every aspect of my game.”
The win against Cathedral was a big one for Pierz.
“I think just about everything was going right,” Olesch said. “We came into the game wanting to really win because we were the underdogs in that situation. You could feel that from the people that were there that we really wanted this game.”
For the season so far, Olesch has recorded 115 kills, 205 digs, 229 set assists, 31 ace serves and 16 blocks.
“She is a very good all-around player,” Pierz head coach Beth Fischer said. “First of all, she’s a leader out there on the court. It makes a big difference having her out there as a leader to get the girls pumped up and into the game. She is a wonderful defender and gets all kinds of digs. She’s a good blocker and her reactions on defense are one of the reasons she’s able to get to where she needs to be. She is a great setter and leads our team in assists and is a big part of our offense.”
In the tight fifth set, it was Olesch the Pioneers relied on to finish the game for them.
“She was our go-to offensive person,” Fischer said. “She got a lot of our kills toward the end of the match.”
Olesch said it was a good feeling to have her number called so much down the stretch against Cathedral.
“It felt very rewarding to know that I’ve had the trust of my teammates and that they were able to trust me to make those plays and to really help the team out individually,” Olesch said.
She said being a hitter helps her a lot when she moves to being a setter.
“As a hitter I get to see what shots are open, who is doing the best hitting wise and that way when I get back to that setter position I’m able to tell ‘oh I should go outside because I saw it was open,’” Olesch said. “I can see more stuff as a hitter that will help contribute to my position as a setter.”
Olesch doesn’t come off the court for the Pioneers either since she is so productive for them.
“It’s really important to have her out there as a leader on the court,” Fischer said.
What makes Olesch a good setter is her hustle.
“We talk about beating the ball to a spot instead of meeting the ball at the spot and she does a good job in that,” Fischer said. “She also does a good job in mixing up who she is setting to and if we have a hitter who is on fire then she knows she needs to set them more often.”
This is Olesch’s third year playing varsity volleyball for Pierz. She also is on the basketball and softball teams.
“I have a lot more confidence with that experience under my belt,” she said. “One of the most important things coming into a game is having that connection with your teammates. Being such a new starter as a 10th grader I didn’t have the confidence or connection with the hitters like I do now.”
Fischer added: “Each year she has grown more and more into that role and leads by example. She works really hard all the time. She supports and pushes other girls to get better. She gives advice, but always in a positive way where they know she’s trying to help them out and not be critical. She’s very coachable and always listens to whatever advice you might have for her and is willing to try it.”
Olesch is also talking with Fischer and the coaches to give her input.
“She’s always thinking and problem-solving in how we can do better,” Fischer said.
Other notable performances:
Volleyball: Morgan Becker, Staples-Motley, tallied 39 kills and 28 digs last week.
Leah Bestland, Staples-Motley, tallied 85 set assists, 38 digs, 10 kills and five ace serves last week.
Abi Martin, Pequot Lakes, tallied 33 set assists and 10 digs last week.
Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, tallied 17 kills, seven digs, three ace serves and a block last week.
Alaura Dahl, Pine River-Backus, tallied 67 set assists and 22 digs last week.
Hannah Barchus, Pine River-Backus, tallied 26 kills, 24 digs, three ace serves and two blocks last week.
Cross-Country: Kyanna Burton, Staples-Motley, won the Ranger Invite in 20:12.7.
Position: setter/right-side hitter
Highlights: She tallied 50 set assists, 41 kills, 47 digs, five blocks and seven ace serves last week.