Osterdahl quietly inspiring Wolves

 Stephanie Osterdahl returned to Port Orchard as a sophomore after four years in Georgia and now is one of the Wolves’ top volleyball players. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Stephanie Osterdahl returned to Port Orchard as a sophomore after four years in Georgia and now is one of the Wolves’ top volleyball players.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

t On the floor and in the classroom, reserved senior making a mark.

With a wiry 6-foot-1 frame and a leaping ability that belies her basketball talent, Stephanie Osterdahl is one of the most visible players on South Kitsap’s volleyball team.

Osterdahl always has been tall and athletic — she also played soccer growing up — without standing out. The senior is quiet, and coach Jessica Anderson felt that was exacerbated by her move from Georgia to Port Orchard as a sophomore.

“She was a shy kid,” Anderson said of the outside hitter. “Painfully shy.”

Even though she’s from Port Orchard originally, Osterdahl admits the transition back to her hometown was daunting at first. After all, South is one of the largest high schools in the state. Osterdahl said her family moved to Georgia for four years when her father, who works in the Federal Aviation Administration, was transferred.

Anderson said Osterdahl not only has become more vocal, but a leader in the program. Along with senior setter Cortney Echternach, she’s a team captain.

“She will speak her mind in a way that’s democratic,” Anderson said. “She’ll do it in a way that doesn’t make other people feel bad. Stephanie is the type of kid every coach wants to have. She’s a leader on and off the court.”

And she’s definitely dedicated.

Osterdahl has been an all-Narrows League selection as a middle blocker two years in a row, an honor Anderson calls “pretty significant,” given that she doesn’t play the back row.

Osterdahl had played goalkeeper since kindergarten, but chose volleyball over soccer as a sophomore.

“I like it for the bonding and team spirit,” she said. “I’ve been able to get to know all the girls.”

The chemistry on the 2006-07 basketball team wasn’t as great, though.

“It was a little disheartening because I didn’t get too play much even though we weren’t doing well,” she said. “Later on in the season, more people got to play because some of the older girls weren’t playing with heart.”

Of the whole experience, she said, “I was just a little sophomore and I just kind of absorbed it all. I was like, ‘Wow, this is not going to happen again next year.’ It kind of taught me what high school is all about.”

And she’s adamant that the team won’t go 2-17 during her final year. The Wolves improved to 10-13 last season.

“We picked up last year and did a lot better,” she said. “I’m hoping to go state this year.”

Once high school is over, Osterdahl is interested in Gonzaga or Central Washington, that is, if she doesn’t receive a basketball scholarship to a smaller school.

She has visited Spokane and attended Girls State in Ellensburg.

She calls Gonzaga’s campus “really nice, and it isn’t too big, especially coming from this big school,” and also enjoys Central’s “quiet, small-town feel.”

Wherever she goes, she plans to study psychology, which she developed an interest in when she started high school.

And it’s clear her coach thinks she’ll do well.

“She’s the kind of kid who always does her work, studies,” she said. “She’s a model student. She’s grown up through the team to become a confident young woman.”

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