The Lady Tigers concluded the regular season Tuesday with a sweep in Hillsboro – 25-3, 25-16 and 25-19.
The match was similar to rolling hills for Glen Rose (22-13, 6-2) in regard to the high of game one and the relative lows of the next two games. The result was never in doubt, but the team needs to have its A-game the rest of the way in 2012.
“We have a lot to work on for the playoffs,” said Maysen Mapes. “I think we’ll be pumped and ready to play so that hopefully we won’t make as many mistakes as we did in this match.”
The early portion of action played host to a spectacular Glen Rose squad. A 15-point Mapes serving streak (3 aces) put the visitors up 17-1. During that stretch, Kayla Goebel (4 kills) and Kelsey Potter (2 kills) began to catch fire.
“I think what got us in a groove is that basically we were killing (the ball) every time, so it was easy to just serve,” Mapes said. “I try to work on serving as tough as I can. That was one of the best games we’ve played.
“It was basically bump, set, spike every time. That’s what allowed us to be so far ahead.”
The junior’s coach appreciated her efforts.
“Maysen really gets on a roll and the other girls were talking recently about how difficult her serve is to read,” said coach Laura Korenek. “Other teams just don’t know what to expect from her; every serve is different. Between her and Shelby (Rotan), I think we get more points from setters than most teams do. They don’t rely on power; they’re tricky.”
Late in the game, Potter had a four-point serving streak and a back-row kill before a Reilly Junge kill sealed the game (25-3). Kelsie Fleetwood had a late block and Caitlin Fellers drilled her second kill of the game.
“Kelsey started out great – hitting well, moving well and being in the right places,” Korenek said. “In game one, we started out great. We were hitting well, every pass was to the spot and everybody really put the ball away. You can’t ask for a whole lot more, and that’s what it’s supposed to look like.”
Despite a fast start from Fellers (2 kills, top), Hillsboro took a 4-3 lead. Rotan came to the rescue with her serving, however, as a seven-point streak put Glen Rose up 11-4. Meredith Odom (kill, tip, block) began to roll during that span, and Junge (2 kills, tip) was feeling it as well.
“You can usually count on Shelby for a serving streak in nearly every match,” Korenek said. “We need that from her, especially in game two when we missed about five serves. Somebody had to get it done.”
Despite a Fleetwood ace and another Odom kill, Hillsboro drew close at 14-10 because the Lady Tigers began to have more unforced errors. The most athletic Hillsboro player on front row was making an impact, as well.
“(Hillsboro) has some great athletes out there,” Korenek said. “If you don’t take care of business on your end, they’re going to get some things (done). Their top front row player had some good blocks against us and also some hard kills.”
Glen Rose was able to rebuild a cushion and put the game away (25-16), as Baylie Plaster, Goebel, Fellers, Fleetwood, Odom and Junge (tip) each had one kill.
“Like Kelsey, Kayla is such a good hitter who gets on top of the ball so well,” Korenek said. “They’re hard to block.”
A five-point Mapes serving streak put Glen Rose up 8-1, as Fellers (2 kills) came out firing. Surprisingly, Hillsboro went on a 10-2 run with the Lady Tigers making some hitting errors.
“That (run) was great for them,” Korenek said. “Their new coach has done a lot with their program – girls are having fun and working hard. They outworked us in game two and game three by far; things will start paying off for them.”
The Lady Tigers snapped out of their daze just in time, rebuilding a lead to 17-12 with Junge (2 kills) leading the way. Plaster then smashed the junior’s third kill of the game for 19-15.
“Coming in off the bench isn’t easy,” Korenek said. “Baylie is able to come in and always get points, which is great. She doesn’t miss a lot of hits; she’s reliable on front row.”
While the playoffs are at hand now, the long-term future looks bright for Glen Rose as well.
“I think we are lucky since half of our team isn’t seniors, so we have a big advantage for next season,” Mapes said.
As for the final points of the match, a Potter ace and Goebel kill brought Glen Rose close and a Fleetwood kill put the regular season on ice (25-19).
The Lady Tigers will now have time to sharpen up for their playoff opener against Llano, which will most likely be played next Tuesday.
“I hope we will be really focused next week,” Korenek said. “All the free balls (Hillsboro) sent over seemed to put us to sleep, and in the playoffs that’s not an option.”