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For Clark Oberle, Decatur’s quarterfinal showdown with former team just another match

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, November 4, 2017
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For Decatur coach Clark Oberle, next Tuesday’s 4A Region II quarterfinal is just another match –  and another team standing in his way of a second state title.

Forget the fact Oberle will know virtually everyone on the other sideline, and that this is one of Decatur’s biggest rivals. It’s merely happenstance the Lady Eagles’ next opponent is Oberle’s old team who he won a state championship with two years ago.

Tuesday’s quarterfinal, win-or-go-home match against Argyle is just one more hurdle Decatur has to clear.

“I’m looking at it like it’s a third-round playoff game against a good opponent,” said Oberle. “I feel like it gives me an advantage knowing I was there for so long. I know their strengths and weaknesses.”

Decatur and Argyle are no strangers to one another, and have become fierce rivals in District 9-4A over the past two years. Decatur beat Argyle in the 2013 playoffs and again in 2014, knocking off Argyle in the state finals to repeat as state champions. The two teams split the season series this year, with Decatur beating Argyle in the final match of the regular season 3-1.

While Decatur won their last meeting even after losing the first set, Oberle is emphasizing the importance of starting fast in this winner-take-all playoff showdown.

“I think it’s important we get off to a good start just to let ourselves and them know [Decatur’s win on Oct. 24] wasn’t a fluke,” Oberle said, “We’re really that good and are capable of beating them.”

With a trip to the 4A-Region II semifinal on the line, Decatur will lean heavily on their two captains, senior Autumn Finney and junior Satasha Kostelecky. Both Finney and Kostelecky played huge roles in last Thursday’s area win over Melissa, with Finney leading the team in kills and Kostelecky in blocks.

Although Finney is the team’s spark plug and de-facto leader, Kostelecky is a big net-front presence who poses challenges for teams. At 6-2, Kostelecky’s length allows her to alter kills and force hitters to aim a different direction.

“Being such a good blocker with her size and athleticism, it does great things for us,” Oberle said. “Other teams really need to worry about where she is. It gets in hitter’s heads that she’s such a big force [at the net].”

Argyle and Decatur square off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club. The winner will advance to play the winner of Rusk vs. Pleasant Grove in the semifinals.

Decatur hasn’t been to the state tournament since they won it all in 2014.

“We want to have a shot to get to the regional tournament and see what happens there,” Oberle said. “Argyle just happens to be an opponent in our way.”

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