GLEN ROSE — The big question for the ninth-ranked Glen Rose Lady Tigers heading into Tuesday night’s preseason matchup with Joshua was how would they respond after a tough eight-match tournament in Hawaii and a grueling travel schedule that brought the team home Monday morning.
Glen Rose answered with a 25-15, 25-12, 25-20 victory over the Lady Owls behind 12 kills each from Logan Smith and Libby Hinton and four service aces by Bryanna Lytle at Tiger Arena.
“I was so proud of how we stepped up and competed,” Glen Rose volleyball coach Sandy Langford said.
“With us having just two days of practice before a game with Peaster and leaving for Hawaii, we were not only playing but trying to change, fix and practice all at the same time.”
With the win over Joshua, the Lady Tigers improve to 7-3 just eight days into the 2018 season, and Tuesday’s match against the Lady Owls was the first of what could be nine matches for the week. The Lady Tigers opened the Glen Rose Tournament Thursday at 10 a.m. against Early HS in the first of four matches of the day. They will play Hico at 2 p.m., Rio Vista at 4 p.m. and Burnet at 5 p.m.
On Friday, the Lady Tigers will play Sanger in a preseason match at 5 p.m., before closing out the Glen Rose Tournament Saturday with bracket play. Times and opponents are TBA.
“Our tournament is going to be tough,” Langford said. “We have some top teams competing in the 40-team tournament. This will be a great chance to work on our defense and implement a faster offense.”
Hinton and Smith added four kills each in the first set against the Lady Owls and Lytle added three kills and a service ace as they jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead before winning the set 25-15.
Lytle continued her hot serving with three more aces in the second set as the Lady Tigers cruised to the 25-12 win. Hanna Griffin had three kills, including the last two of the set.
The Lady Tigers trailed 5-1 early in the third set, but senior Maddie Mooney served five straight points — including three aces — to give Glen Rose the 6-5 lead, and they never trailed the remainder of the set. A kill by Hinton pushed the Glen Rose lead to 12-8 before the Lady Owls began chipping away. They eventually tied the set at 16-16, but the Lady Tigers pulled away on kills by Smith, Alexis Mims and Hinton down the stretch as well as a service ace by Hailey Ibarra. Leading 22-20, the Lady Tigers scored the final three points to take the set and match.
“We played solid. We came out playing a more fast-paced game.” Langford said. “The first two games we were very consistent.”
In the prestigious Ann Kang Tournament hosted by Iolani School in Honolulu, the Lady Tigers placed ninth out of 16 teams by going 5-3 in the three-day event. They are only one of three Texas teams to ever place in the top 10 in the event that has been contested since 1989.
After seven matches of pool play, the Lady Tigers were in a three-way tie for third place, but due to the tiebreaker of set percentage, they fell to No. 5 in their pool and played for ninth place.
The Lady Tigers opened play on Thursday, Aug. 9, with a tough 33-35, 23-25 loss to Village Christian School (a private school from California) before beating Hawaii Baptist School, 25-20, 25-27, 15-3 and Newport Harbor (California) 21-25, 25-16, 15-13.
On the second day, Glen Rose opened with a 24-26, 15-25 loss to Mira Costa (a public school from California) before beating Moanalua 25-20, 25-16 and Texas Class 5A Boswell 25-22, 25-21.
On the final day, the Lady Tigers lost to Harvard-Westlake, a prestigious private school of 1,700 from Los Angeles, 19-25, 25-13, 15-12 before closing out the tournament in the match for ninth place with a win over King Kekaulike 15-25, 25-16, 25-12.
“The Hawaii tournament was excellent for us. We saw some downright tough serving. As the tournament got deeper into play, we adjusted and stepped our service receive and ran some big offensive off of it,” Langford said. “We have a great backcourt this year, setters with experience and some big hitters that are not only smart with big shots, but they are powerful too.”