In a week since the season opened Aug. 16, the Lady Tigers have come a long way.
As tournament host, Glen Rose (9-2) won its eighth-straight match Friday night against Cameron Yoe, which followed victories over Whitney and Blum earlier in the day.
"I'm very pleased with how the lineup is starting to mesh," said coach Laura Korenek. "People are embracing their roles and our young girls are really getting after it. We expect a lot after this start. Looking at the teams we lost to (Springtown and Leon on opening day), that's where we want to go. We're working to improve and be able to hang with those teams down the road."
Glen Rose defeats Whitney 25-14 and 25-17
The Lady Tigers dominated all the way to 24 points in game one before Whitney put a mini-run together. It was only a matter of time, as a long hit by Whitney sealed the opening game for Glen Rose.
"It did take us awhile to get that last point," Korenek said. "Whitney is a good team; they just struggled to rally back because we were hot early on."
Olivia Banz led the team with 10 service points and Maysen Mapes added five.
"That's the first big streak for Olivia," the coach said. "She's usually served a couple of points here or there, but she served tough and kept them all in. Our offense did a good job backing her up, putting the ball away with some good kills so she could keep going."
Korenek praised Kayla Goebel for her kills in game one along with Meredith Odom's blocking and Cheyenne Harton's service-receive.
The Lady Tigers didn't stumble in game two, as a couple of Odom kills helped Glen Rose jump out to 11-5 and force a Whitney timeout. Whitney couldn't come up with any blocks, so a variety of Lady Tigers were capitalizing up front.
"Meredith gave us several kills and we need that from her," Korenek said. "(Whitney) really struggled to get a block up against us. We've really been working on seeing the block and hitting around it, so the girls deserve a little credit for that."
After a Harton back-row kill, Banz came up with a kill and a block on consecutive plays for 16-8.
"Olivia had a couple of good blocks," Korenek said.
Whitney couldn't put a run together down the stretch and Kelsey Potter (kill, tip) made a couple of big plays late to shut the door.
"Kelsey swings hard every time and she's strong, so if she gets ahold of one it's almost always a kill," the coach said.
Whitney was fortunate the Lady Tigers made a number of mistakes or the final score would've been far more lopsided.
"We had several hitting errors in that one and some serving errors, which made it closer than it was," Korenek said. "I'm encouraging tough serving, so we're going to have some errors right now as we adjust and improve our technique."
Glen Rose defeats Blum 25-15 and 25-14
The Lady Tigers got off to another good start, forcing Blum timeouts at 6-2 and then 15-5. Banz (ace) had consecutive blocks, while Gibson (2 kills, block), Potter (2 kills, tip) and Goebel (2 kills) all got in on the fun.
"Olivia blocks every ball," Potter said. "You expect at least one block from her in every game. Madi is playing aggressively and wants to hit every time."
Glen Rose pushed its lead out to 19-7 with an Odom kill, and then Blum actually outscored the Lady Tigers the rest of the way in a 10-point loss.
"We get it in our mind that we have the game (in hand), then we go into a little lull and our service-receive might drop off," Potter said. "We have to finish better."
A kill from Goebel put Blum away in the opening game.
"Kayla can jump really high and hit anywhere you want her to," Potter said.
Despite solid work by Potter (kill, tip) and Goebel (2 kills), Blum hung tough out to 13-11. After an ace earlier in the game, Sophie Bozarth came up with another one during a six-point serving streak for a 20-11 lead. It was a Banz block that made it 20-11.
"Sophie serves hard and knows where to attack," Potter said.
On the heels of Gibson's second block in the game, Potter had consecutive aces and then Goebel clinched another game with a kill to put Blum away.
"We knew we needed to step it up and play harder," Potter said. "We started running quick sets and slamming the ball. Every game I try to play the same no matter who we're playing - always play hard. I definitely think I'm better at passing and serve-receive this year.
"Blum is really good for being so small (regarding enrollment). Considering those were good teams we lost to (on opening day), it motivated us to step it up and play harder against everyone."
Glen Rose defeats Cameron Yoe 25-14 and 25-17
Once again, the Lady Tigers had another very good game one. As they went up 12-5 to force a Cameron timeout, Potter (block, ace) and Goebel (tip, kill) were a factor. The second ace of the game for Banz made it 13-5.
"Olivia's serving was a pleasant surprise," Korenek said. "I didn't know she could do this well."
As Glen Rose made it to 20-12, Odom (2 kills, block) was rolling and then aces by Bozarth and Potter put the game away. Korenek credited Bozarth and fellow setter Mapes for their work on the day.
"We were setting the right girls and did a good job mixing it up," Korenek said.
All of the sudden, the Lady Tigers had a battle on their hands out to 14-14 in game two. While Potter (block, ace) and Gibson (2 kills) were playing well, unforced errors gave Glen Rose trouble.
"We weren't focused enough at that point," Korenek said. "Cameron wanted to win that game bad. Madi has totally embraced playing on front row and she's doing great. She's a good blocker and a confident hitter."
For the remainder of the match, the Lady Tigers finished on an 11-3 run.
"I was upset with our effort in game two," the coach said. "Even though we were still winning, the girls don't realize how much their intensity level can fall sometimes. When I let them know, they got going."
Banz (kill, block) and Goebel (block, 2 kills) were sharp down the stretch.
"Kayla was especially strong in those last few points," Korenek said.
In the span of four late points, three Lady Tigers tallied blocks.
"Blocking is something I keep harping on," Korenek said. "We're so tall that if we aren't getting blocks there's something wrong. I was a middle blocker and nothing gets me more fired up than seeing them block."
The Lady Tigers will return to action Saturday at 11 a.m. against Burnet in a double elimination format.