The Lady Tigers have played some quality volleyball this season, but Tuesday, Oct. 8 against Alvarado may have taken the cake.
Glen Rose (22-10, 3-0) played stellar ball in the first two games and battled to secure a sweep in game three – 25-12, 25-11 and 25-22.
“Games one and two were awesome,” said senior Kayla Goebel. “We beat them in a tournament earlier in the year, but we knew they’d be improved and really motivated to beat us. We’ve worked really hard in practice to beat them and Stephenville. We were so fired up for this one and we need to be for (Stephenville Friday), too.”
With her team playing at such a high level, coach Laura Korenek was understandably pleased.
“Our intensity was high on front and back row,” Korenek said. “All that great hitting starts with a great pass. The back row players allowed us to play a quick offense.”
Goebel (16 kills, 2 digs, block) and Sophie Bozarth (22 assists) both put up big numbers in the victory. Other prime contributors were Olivia Banz (9 kills, 3 blocks), Kelsey Potter (9 kills, 3 aces) and Maysen Mapes (12 assists).
Glen Rose could do no wrong in game one, as 18 of its 25 points came on kills.
“Usually a game is about half our kills and half errors from the other team,” Korenek said. “That’s great for us to put up those numbers heading into Friday’s match and know we can do it.”
Goebel gave credit where it was due for the huge kill numbers.
“We’ve been working really hard on back row and everything starts with the pass,” Goebel said. “Back row did very well and with a good pass we can almost always put it down.”
With Glen Rose up 5-4, Goebel obliterated consecutive kills and the floodgates opened for the Lady Tigers to quickly pull away. She had six kills in the game and Banz added four.
“Those were incredible kills by Kayla,” Korenek said. “The other team couldn’t even react on defense. It got us fired up and other girls were like ‘I want some of that,’ so we really got going.”
As Potter and Meredith Odom also drilled multiple kills in the game, setters Bozarth and Mapes were sharp.
“The setters did awesome,” Goebel said. “Even when we didn’t get a good pass to them, they were still able to run quicks on almost everything. Their hard work paid off.”
Needing to respond in game two, Alvarado quickly found itself down 10-0. With Sabrina Watson serving, Banz (2 blocks, kill) and Potter (2 kills) led the streak.
“Sabrina doesn’t usually serve, so to get up there and serve that many in a row was great,” Korenek said. “We helped her with some key blocks by Olivia, and as a team we kept them on their heels.”
Goebel appreciated her team jumping on the visitors.
“We knew their top player had a bad temper and if we could get in her head we’d be fine,” the senior said. “Olivia did an amazing job of that.”
After a tip during the streak, Bozarth won a point with a dump and continued to pile up assists.
“Sophie is so smart and plays so relaxed,” Korenek said. “Setting is a hard job, but she does a good job of mixing up her sets and knowing when to take control herself for points on dumps. You can’t ask for more from a freshman.”
Glen Rose never let Alvarado get off the mat in the game, as Potter (2), Banz and Goebel each had aces down the stretch.
“We served good from the start, but I thought late in game two we started feeling more confident and were really aggressive,” Korenek said.
Game three looked like more of the same at 8-2, as Goebel and Banz each blasted two kills. Alvarado began to show some life and actually staged a 13-5 run to go up 20-19.
“They were playing all-out at that point, not wanting to get swept,” Korenek said. “They made miraculous plays with defensive hustle and forced us to keep playing at that high level. We just made more mistakes and that’s why it was tough.”
Goebel also credited the opponent.
“I know we had a couple of mistakes, but if I had lost the first two games as bad as Alvarado did, I’d be really fired up to come back,” she said. “They just had a little more intensity in that game.”
Baylie Plaster got in on the action and her defensive effort stood out.
“Baylie had three diving saves and kept points alive, which was great,” Korenek said.
Over the rest of game three, Goebel smashed four kills in the span of five points and a Potter kill iced the match. In game three alone, Goebel had a back-row kill, a standing diagonal kill and a kill with her left hand.
“Kayla was hitting from everywhere,” Korenek said. “She even had a roll shot there at the end to a hole in the floor. To have that many kills and finish the game so strong was a great job. Her effort and communication are very important, too.
“I wanted the sweep, especially in a tight game three because that’s good experience.”
The most important match of the season thus far arrives Friday when Glen Rose hosts Stephenville at 4:30 p.m.
“It should be a tight game,” Korenek said. “I think we match up pretty well with them, but we have to play well. This is the year we have a chance to beat them, but we have to take advantage.”
Goebel believes it can be done.
“They went to four games with Alvarado, but Stephenville-Glen Rose is so competitive we’ll both be out for blood to take first in district,” she said.