With the Lady Tiger volleyball seniors playing their final match in Tiger Arena on Tuesday night, Glen Rose (21-13, 5-2) got off to a roaring start and completed a sweep of the Venus Bulldogs – 25-8, 25-16 and 25-13.
“I think we played a little better in Venus, but we still played pretty good (Tuesday) and got a lot of kills,” said coach Laura Korenek.
Kiffany Kelly shared those sentiments.
“I think we’ve improved a lot since we played them in Venus,” the senior said. “We got off track a little bit, but we pulled it together and did our jobs.”
After a Meredith Odom kill and a Reilly Junge ace to start the match, the Lady Tigers were off to the races for an 11-3 lead. Kelly had a five-point serving streak (ace), during which Kelsie Fleetwood (block) and Junge (kill) contributed. Moments later, libero Kelly swung through a back-row kill.
“I was so excited; that adds to my record of like three,” Kelly quipped.
Her coach was pleased as well.
“This was a great serving match for her,” the coach said. “Kiffany’s kill came really early to help set the tone for that game; it was good.”
During a five-point Junge serving streak (2 aces), Odom had a kill roll over the net – her third of the first game – for a 20-6 lead.
“The topspin on Reilly’s jump serve had it dropping and they really struggled with that,” Korenek said. “She did a great job.”
Caitlin Fellers had two kills down the stretch and then a Fleetwood kill put the game away (25-8).
“I can’t think of any hitting errors we had in that first game,” Korenek said.
Junge wasted no time giving Venus trouble in game two, as her serving made it 4-0. Odom and Fellers (2) helped her out with kills during that time. Despite more kills from those two and a Shelby Rotan ace, Venus hung around all the way to 15-15.
“Service-receive and some easy stuff on back row caused us trouble,” Korenek said. “We have to get a good first pass up.”
Although Venus called a timeout after consecutive kills by Fleetwood and Kayla Goebel (17-15), it didn’t do any good considering Kelly followed with a seven-point serving streak (2 aces) for a 23-15 lead.
“I was able to aim better than what I usually do, so that was great,” Kelly said. “I missed a serve last week and I was still thinking about that, so to get them all over and to get some aces was awesome.”
Goebel had a big finish to the game with three kills and a block in the span of 12 points, and then another Rotan ace sealed it (25-16).
“Kayla finally got on a roll and put the ball away, plus the back row finally got the ball to her on the net,” Korenek said. “She’s great at hitting both angles. I just don’t think teams expect much from Shelby’s serve because of her size, but she nearly always gives you one ace when she’s up to serve.”
Once again, Glen Rose started fast in game three at 3-0 with kills from Kelsey Potter, Fellers and Odom. Rotan adeptly gave Odom a quickset for a particularly sharp play.
Venus hung around again out to 12-10 in favor of Glen Rose, despite Fellers (kill, block) and Goebel (2 kills) playing especially well.
“Because we beat them so bad the first game, I didn’t like to see the games stay that close,” Korenek said. “I wasn’t concerned, and we were eventually able to pull away.”
It was all Lady Tigers the rest of the way, as Junge (kill, ace) led the charge. Fellers had another block to cap off a strong showing for her (25-13).
“Caitlin was putting the ball away; she had a great block late,” Korenek said. “She was on (Tuesday).”
The Lady Tigers conclude the regular season next Tuesday in Hillsboro.
“We definitely need to keep our heads on straight and not think we’ll just show up and beat Hillsboro,” Kelly said. “We need to lock up that second-place spot and prepare for Llano with the mindset that we’re going to face Stephenville again.”
Korenek knows every day of playoff preparation is important.
“Hillsboro may not give us a tough match going into playoffs, but there are things we can work on mentally to prepare for that first round and it is a good home environment for them.”