The ups and downs of high school sports can be a sight to behold.
Just four days after a three-game loss in Alvarado that coach Laura Korenek considered the team’s worst match of the season, Glen Rose (25-12, 6-2) totally turned the tables to seize one of the biggest regular season wins in program history Tuesday, Oct. 29. The Lady Tigers edged out host Stephenville in five games – 19-25, 29-27, 13-25, 25-22 and 15-13 – to snap the Honeybees’ 24-match winning streak in district play and clinch second in 7-3A.
“We didn’t dwell on Friday much,” Korenek said. “My thought was we had to move on. We knew we had to win (Tuesday) or we’d have to play a tiebreaker match for second, which helped us get in gear. The girls really wanted to beat Stephenville, and to do it in their gym – I don’t know if you can put into words what it means to this team. We head into the playoffs fired up, knowing how well we can play.”
Senior Kayla Goebel talked about how the team was able to elevate its game since the Alvarado match.
“We were all really mad about how we played (in Alvarado),” she said. “We knew we’d worked hard all year and we couldn’t start playing bad now, plus we were so determined to finally beat Stephenville. Whenever they walked out on the court we didn’t like their attitude, and stuff like that makes us step up our game.
“This was the best moment of my career and the best feeling ever. When we won, everybody was jumping up screaming, the crowd was so loud and the coaches stormed the court. It was awesome.”
Korenek said the game one score was deceptive.
“We were down by way more than the 19-25 we lost by,” she said. “They played good, but we gave them about four points with passes over the net for stuff blocks. In the tight games we won, we didn’t do that and we usually play well in close games.”
Glen Rose needed 29 points to win game two and it was critical to the comeback.
“That game was the key,” Korenek said. “We were fired up and played great. We got up on them and they had to work back into it. It allowed us the chance to recover after we didn’t play well in game three.”
Speaking of game three, it was easily the most dominant portion of play for either team.
“Stephenville served really well in game three,” the coach said. “We just couldn’t get anything going on front row. We also battled back in that game because they had an even bigger lead than it ended up.”
Putting the game behind them, the Lady Tigers refocused to win a tight game four and even things up.
“I felt like that was the most critical game to that point because we’d just lost really bad in game three,” Goebel said. “If we wanted to win, we were going to have to step it up right there.”
Korenek pointed to her team’s defense, and blocking in particular, for game four.
“We didn’t let the ball hit the ground, and it took the momentum from Stephenville,” Korenek said. “We outworked them in that game, and that’s what it will take in the playoffs.”
With the pressure on both teams, Glen Rose did just enough to seal the deal in game five.
“We’ve had some slow starts in game fives that cost us against good teams, and I think that prepared us for this situation,” Korenek said.
Goebel finished with 13 kills, three aces and two digs.
“Kayla played great in this one,” Korenek said.
Kelsey Potter tallied 16 kills and four assists.
“Some of Kelsey’s kills were so smart with tips to the right place,” Korenek said. “She sees the floor so well and did a great job leading the team in the last two games.”
“Kelsey was just prepared on back row and always ready to hit on front,” Goebel added.
Potter was understandably a happy Lady Tiger afterwards.
“We played as a team and it was so fun,” she said.
Freshman Sophie Bozarth put up big numbers with 18 assists, nine kills and two blocks.
“Sophie got hits and so many assists,” Korenek said. “That’s her best match of the year. She’s one of the girls who plays the whole match, and she was still working in that fifth game. Her hard work got her to this point.”
“Sophie’s sets were great,” Goebel added.
Meredith Odom had five kills, five blocks and two digs.
“Meredith changed the game I thought,” the coach said. “She had five blocks, had to play back row and came up with two digs. She also hit well and it was one of her best matches of the season.”
“Meredith did really good with her blocks and hits,” Goebel added.
Madi Gibson produced four kills, 2.5 blocks and two digs. Olivia Banz came up with four kills, two aces and two blocks. Maysen Mapes delivered 12 assists, while Cheyenne Harton had three aces and two digs.
“Cheyenne was on the ground those last two games on back row,” Korenek said. “There wasn’t anything getting past her that she wasn’t diving for.”
Goebel talked about how long the Lady Tigers have been chasing this particular victory.
“This is something we’ve been trying to do for two years, and it’s a great way for the seniors to end their district careers,” she said. “Everybody is pumped for playoffs.”
Glen Rose will host a playoff warm-up match Friday at 5 p.m. against Cleburne. The Lady Tigers tentatively begin the postseason Tuesday when they travel to Waco Midway to face Burnet.
“This is definitely the biggest win in my time as Glen Rose coach,” Korenek said. “I’m so proud of the girls. They’ve worked so hard for this.
“I was so into the game, jumping up and down screaming for them. I’m from Glen Rose, and this was one of the most intense matches our program has played.”