While Lady Tiger volleyball didn’t come away with a win Friday, Nov. 1, Glen Rose was able to give visiting Cleburne a better challenge in a rematch between the schools.

The Lady Tigers (25-13) lost to the 4A school while hosting their tournament in late August 20-25 and 15-25, but Glen Rose had a shot to win three of four games this time: 25-17, 17-25, 25-27 and 20-25.

“I think the biggest difference in how we improved against them was our service-receive,” said coach Laura Korenek. “We struggled with it in the third game a lot, but for the most part we did well. That put us (on the offensive) hitting at them more often than last time.

“We had a good shot to win three of the four games and showed some heart. That’s a good 4A team that got second in their district, so being able to compete with them shows how far we’ve come this year.”

Top Lady Tigers in the loss were Kelsey Potter (12 kills, 4 digs, 2 blocks, 2 aces), Kayla Goebel (10 kills) and Maysen Mapes (13 assists, 2 aces). Other key producers were Meredith Odom (8 kills), Sophie Bozarth (13 assists), Cheyenne Harton (3 aces) and Madi Gibson (2 blocks).

Glen Rose was at its best early to win game one going away. As the two teams battled out to 15-15, Odom (2 kills) led the way with Potter and Harton each serving an ace. Cleburne was fortunate to have two kills and an ace roll over the net.

“Cleburne did make a lot of errors in game one, which gave us the advantage and some easy points to get on a roll,” Korenek said.

Potter came up huge with a five-point serving streak (2 aces) for 20-15 and drilled a back-row kill to help herself out. When Cleburne wasn’t able to make a run coming out of a timeout, Mapes finished the game with a three-point serving streak and Goebel made a stuff block.

“I think (Cleburne) looked at the score late in that game and just decided to move on to the next one,” Korenek said.

While the tables turned in game two, Glen Rose was still in good shape out to 8-8 with Potter (kill, tip, block) and Goebel (2 kills) finding success. From that point on, Cleburne took over – capitalizing on Glen Rose errors and hitting very aggressively – and left no doubt in the game.

“It was the game one score reversed, and that was about our errors,” Korenek said. “They did a much better job of service-receive in game two and they were hitting hard at us with confidence. Nobody could seem to get going (later) in game two. It was our team that was ready to move on this time.”

In a crucial game three with control of the match on the line, it took 52 points to decide the victor. On the way to 14-14, Potter (3 kills, block) and Harton (2 aces) were productive, as Glen Rose held a slight lead early and then trailed by a few points as the game progressed.

“It wasn’t ever a big gap, but when you’re behind (nearly) the whole game it can still be hard to get over the hump,” Korenek said. “We couldn’t afford any mistakes or to give them anything easy.”

Goebel (2 kills) gave her team a boost down the stretch, and a Bozarth kill out of a timeout helped Glen Rose pull within 20-22. Coming out of another timeout minutes later, an Odom kill made it 22-23. Glen Rose eventually tied the score on two occasions – including 25-25, but a long serve and then a block by Cleburne put the game on ice.

“At times, a lack of teamwork cost us,” Korenek said. “We didn’t call the ball. I thought they killed us with roll shots and tips in that game. Our biggest weakness is playing that short defense, and it’s annoying to keep giving up easy points.”

Perhaps a bit deflated by the close game loss, Glen Rose started slow in game four at 1-6.

“We weren’t intense enough at that point,” the coach said. “I want to see us excited for each other on good plays, plus we play better that way.”

Despite the efforts of Gibson (kill, block), Potter (3 kills) and Goebel (2 kills), the Lady Tigers were in real trouble at 11-17. Instead of going out with a whimper, the Lady Tigers made a tremendous push to 19-19 spearheaded by Odom (tip, kill) and Mapes (2 aces). Cleburne just had a bit more left in the tank, however, and a few late errors by Glen Rose helped the visitors seal the deal.

“The girls responded coming out of a timeout and we went on a little roll to get back in it,” Korenek said. “I was proud of them for digging out of a deep hole. If we just could’ve played error-free over those final points it might’ve been different, but a couple of mistakes cost us.”

The Lady Tigers will hopefully benefit from this challenge when they head to Lampasas High School Tuesday, Nov. 5 to face Burnet at 7 p.m. in the playoff opener.

“We just have to go into it confident, knowing we can get the job done,” Korenek said. “I definitely think we have the better players, so it’s a matter of if we perform.”