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Waddell column: Oberle brings team together to capture state title

By Reece Waddell | Published Monday, November 26, 2018.
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Taped inside the door of the Decatur Lady Eagles’ locker room this season was a quote from Herb Brooks, the coach who led the United States hockey team to a stunning upset over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics.

“I’m not looking for the best players — I’m looking for the right ones,” Brooks said.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

If a single quote could encapsulate the Lady Eagles’ run to their third state title in six years, that would fit. 

A team-first approach is what got Decatur to the state tournament. It was that same mantra that helped it dethrone defending champion Needville in the Class 4A final. In seemingly every playoff game, it was a new face that rose to the occasion.

And behind it all, on the bench, was seasoned coach Clark Oberle.

The veteran coach navigated Decatur through a gauntlet of a non-district schedule, preparing his team for the postseason. There were plenty of ups and downs for the Lady Eagles, but Oberle was always there to right the ship.

Players and even parents soon took notice.

“A lot of the years Satasha has played there’s been drama within the teams,” said Scott Kostelecky, father of senior middle blocker Satasha. “We’ve had very little to no drama on this team. In the absence of drama, you know you have a very close team.”

By the start of district play, it became clear Decatur had bought into Oberle’s style of play. The Lady Eagles didn’t care on any given night who stuffed the stat sheet or who got the kill.

They just wanted to win.

“He’s an unforgettable coach,” said sophomore Makenna Gantt. “He’s always there for us no matter what — the best of the best.”

After winning the 4A title, Oberle agreed with his state MVP. This would not be a team he soon forgot.

“[This team is] very memorable,” Oberle said. “I really wanted to win it for these two seniors especially.”

It took Satasha Kostelecky four years to reach the state tournament, but when she finally did, she went out on top.

“I loved playing for Coach Oberle these past few years,” Satasha Kostelecky said. “I wouldn’t want to share this experience with anyone else. He’s been amazing. He’s helped us through so much and been there for us. I can’t put it in words.”

The Lady Eagles’ other senior, libero Alyssa Wallace, won a state title with Oberle at Argyle in 2015 and transferred to Decatur this summer.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to play for anyone else,” Wallace said with a gold medal draped around her neck Saturday.

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