Home Sports Column: Mother McAuley’s Keira Ohse kept going. She didn’t pout. She didn’t quit. And now? ‘She’s so good.’

Column: Mother McAuley’s Keira Ohse kept going. She didn’t pout. She didn’t quit. And now? ‘She’s so good.’

by staff

I love a good “when it all began” story.

Mother McAuley girls volleyball coach Jen DeJarld told me a really cool one the other day regarding senior middle hitter Keira Ohse.

When it all began, the 6-foot-1 Ohse wasn’t the player she is today. But she was still tall.

Ohse was in eighth grade at Mount Greenwood Elementary School, playing for the girls basketball team in a tournament at Trinity High School. Along with Maeve Egan, Morgan Feil and Grace Zaper, she was a multisport athlete.

It was Sunday, and DeJarld had a choice to make.

“I could have gone to Wake Forest to watch my daughter Jane play,” DeJarld said. “But I stayed home that weekend. Meg (Gardner) and I took a ride to Trinity to watch them play.

“We just wanted to show our presence — let them know how much we valued them and how much we wanted them.”

All four came to McAuley. For Ohse, it would be the beginning of an interesting journey that saw ups and downs but right now is sailing full-speed ahead.

Ohse was one of the leaders for the champion Mighty Macs at the Metea Valley/Oswego East Tournament. Over the final three matches, she totaled 11 kills on 17 attempts and added eight blocks.

Mind-blowing numbers? Probably not. But she has become an equal part of a monster hitting crew that includes Ellie White, Ellery Rees and Sydney Buchanan.

“I think Keira is more aggressive in everything she does this season,” DeJarld said. “She’s attacking the ball more aggressively, being smarter with the shots she’s choosing and getting more touches on the block. She is a true leader out there.”

She’s definitely feeling it.

“Yeah, I’ve been taking the weight training really seriously, and I’m definitely feeling the results,” Ohse said. “All that our trainer (John Griffin) has done for us, we appreciate it.”

Ohse smiled when I told her DeJarld’s story about that visit to Trinity. She has never forgotten.

“That was crazy,” Ohse said. “I was very surprised, for sure. It was a supercool experience. It was crazy to see the high school volleyball coach be there. She was our big person we looked up to in our lives.

“To have her come there and watch us was amazing. That she came to see us play basketball was even cooler.”

Mother McAuley's Keira Ohse (17) runs a fake as Caroline Macander (16) sets the ball to the opposite side of the court against Metea Valley during the Class 4A state championship match at Illinois State's Redbird Arena in Normal on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Ohse played varsity basketball at McAuley during her freshman year, but then decided to focus solely on volleyball. She was on the JV volleyball team as a freshman. As a sophomore, she was a varsity starter as the Mighty Macs finished second in Class 4A. She and Caroline Macander led the team in blocks.

Last season, the emergence of the 6-3 Rees resulted in less playing time for Ohse. Some kids would have a tough time with it. Not Keira.

“Well … Ellery is a great player and an even better friend, so it wasn’t hard for me to support her,” Ohse said. “She’s been there for me, and I’ll always be there for her.

“I tried to do whatever I could on and off the court to get my time. I was just determined to be ready for whatever came at me. When we won the state title, oh, that was so good. To finish it off completed our unfinished business.”

This season, Ohse, Egan, Feil and Zaper are back to help the Mighty Macs defend that title. Egan and Feil are also standouts in basketball.

Egan is enjoying watching Ohse’s stock rise in volleyball.

“It’s really cool to see her grow and see how much better she has gotten,” Egan said. “This season, she’s been amazing.

“On some of her hits I’m like, ‘Wow, who is that out there?’ She’s so good.”

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