In their last match of the first 7-3A round, the Lady Tigers demolished Hillsboro at home on Friday.
Glen Rose (19-12, 3-1) never really gave the visitors any hope in a 25-5, 25-10 and 25-12 victory.
“That’s probably the weakest team we’ve played this year,” said coach Laura Korenek. “Their serve-receive problems also hurt their setting.”
Defensive specialist Mary McPherson had a strong game three, and she recognized the importance of a businesslike approach on homecoming.
“We just tried to stay focused and have fun with it – not let them get us down if they scored a couple of points,” McPherson said.
As Glen Rose shot out to a 14-2 lead, Maysen Mapes (ace) and Kelsey Potter (4 aces) had five- and seven-point serving streaks respectively. Along the way, Kayla Goebel (block, kill) was a factor and Kelsie Fleetwood also produced a block.
“Kelsey is a tough server who doesn’t miss a lot,” Korenek said. “You expect that from her.”
Glen Rose never looked back, as Fleetwood (ace) finished the game with a four-point serving streak (25-5). Reilly Junge and Meredith Odom each had two kills down the stretch.
“They have some girls in the middle that can play, but when you serve tough against them it takes them out of the game,” Korenek said.
Another spectacular start was in the works, as Glen Rose went up 10-1 on the heels of a six-point Mapes (ace) serving streak. The Lady Tigers already drilled seven kills at that point, led by Caitlin Fellers (3 kills). After that, however, Glen Rose had just three kills over the remainder of the game.
“Halfway through game two, I realized our kills had dropped off,” Korenek said. “We definitely slowed down and didn’t keep our pace up as well as I would like.”
Destiny Ponce did get her second kill of the game for 14-6 in very impressive fashion.
“Destiny’s back-row attack was amazing,” the coach said. “She put the ball down on that one and hit it hard. She’s really coming along, even though she’s bounced around and played a lot of different spots. She just rolls with it and plays hard.”
Shelby Rotan (4 aces) put the game out of reach with a seven-point serving streak for 21-6.
“Shelby is a great and effective server,” Korenek said. “She’s deceptive because it’s hard to know coming out of her hands where that ball is going.”
Fellers continued to play well with an ace and her fourth kill of the game, while Goebel had a block on the way to 25-10.
“Caitlin took advantage of the fact there wasn’t a big blocker up against her,” Korenek said. “I told her to make sure she hit over that girl and capitalize on it.”
Although the match was heavily lopsided, Hillsboro did manage to get into several relatively lengthy rallies.
“(Hillsboro) kept a lot of stuff in play,” Korenek said. “The first several points of each game were long rallies; they made us work for it and seemed to be finding their groove later in game three.”
While Glen Rose dominated down the stretch of the game, Hillsboro was at its best early on trailing 7-9. Goebel had a kill and another block during that span, while Kiffany Kelly served up an ace.
“I really push us to get up there and play the net tough,” Korenek said. “If it’s a tie ball, we want to be up there trying to put the ball down and find a hole; we’ve really improved on our net play in the last month.”
Once again, it was Rotan to the rescue with a six-point serving streak for a 15-7 lead. Junge (kill, tip) and Odom (2 kills) each loomed large during that time.
After a Junge kill for 16-8, McPherson showed her serving ability with a six-point streak (2 aces) for a 22-8 lead. Junge and Baylie Plaster each had a kill during her run.
“I just tried to serve hard and maybe find a weak point,” McPherson said. “I just haven’t served much this year, but I can still get the job done.”
Although the Lady Tigers are senior-laden, McPherson and a number of other notable players will return next season.
“I think we will still be a good team next year,” she said. “We have some good players who will come up from the JV to help the returning players.”
As for McPherson’s game three production, her coach loved it.
“Mary went in and served tough,” Korenek said. “She doesn’t get many serving chances, so just to go in there and get that many in a row was great. It shows that you can count on her. We finally got some good sets to Reilly when she was on front row, and she had several hard kills in that game three.”
In the final points of the match, Odom swung through one more kill and Fellers came up with a block (25-12). The Lady Tigers begin round two on Tuesday when they host Alvarado after the 5 p.m. JV contest.
“We have to be ready to play,” Korenek said. “They’re a good team, so we can’t let them get going and we do know what to expect.”