Glenwood’s volleyball season ends in regional semifinals

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

The Glenwood volleyball team’s season came to end last Tuesday.

It wasn’t for lack of effort.

The Rams battled and scrapped all match long against Council Bluffs Lewis Central, a team that had swept them just two weeks early, but came up short in a 16-25, 25-18, 12-25, 17-25 loss to the Titans in the Class 4A, Region 2 semifinals in Council Bluffs.

Glenwood coach Chelsey Hirt conceded her team didn’t play great up front and the execution she saw against Harlan in the regional opener wasn’t there. What she saw was her team battling and pushing a good, confident team that had previously handed them a lopsided loss.

“To see us take a step forward after being swept by them was encouraging,” Hirt said. “I told the girls not to hang their heads. There were so many rallies in that game that could have had it go either way. It would have been easy for us to have handed it to them after that first game but we didn’t; we fought back. That passion and drive was there to not give up. They worked so hard.”

After dropping set one 25-16, Glenwood put together its best set of the night in a 25-18 set two winner.

The final two sets, however, told the story of the match: the Titans were just too big along the front line and too experienced.

In every set win, the Titans built big leads. And while the Rams clawed back in two of three, they just dug themselves too big a hole to dig out of.

“We get stuck in runs and it’s hard for us to fight our way back,” she said. “Once you get a five or six point run, it’s really hard for us to get back on top. It’s something we’ve been working on all season. At times they’ve proven they can do it and at other times we just get stuck. It’s something we need to continue to address that as a program.”

The Rams’ attack did struggle at times against the bigger Titan blockers, hitting .017 with 28 kills. But they had their moments. Lewis Central finished with 41 kills.

Elle Scarborough led the way for Glenwood with nine kills on 20 chances. Brielle Smith put down six kills and Erin Stanley five.

“Elle hit it well,” she said. “I’m just really proud of her. She’s one of the better hitters in the conference and she’s a sophomore. She’s outstanding. I so happy with her mentality and ability to keep up and keep hitting the ball.”

Cera Gray, who dished dup 17 set assists for Glenwood, recorded her 1,000th career assist in the match.

“That’s a huge thing for her and her career,” Hirt said.

The Rams finished with 85 digs, led by Jaeda Wilson’s 17.

For the match, Hirt played 14 of the 15 girls listed on her roster.

“Everyone played a part,” she said.

The Titans (21-13), who have reached the state tournament the past four years, were to meet Bondurant-Farrar in the regional finals Monday night. Those results were not available at press time.

For the season, Glenwood matched its win total from a year ago with a record of 17-14. But beyond the wins and losses, Hirt said her team’s improvement has been drastic across the board even if the record don’t show it.

“We have improved in every area single statistics: blocking, assists, kills, kill efficiency, aces, serving percentage. All of it is improved over last year. Yeah, we have 17 wins again but every single stat has improved. That speaks volumes. We didn’t execute in every match but the improvement was there.”

Seven seniors from the 2018 squad will graduate and move on from this year’s squad: Brielle Smith Paige Hays, Cameron Rounds, Erin Stanley, Brooklyn Taylor, Courtney Groom and Cera Gray. Six were key contributors the last two seasons.

That group’s “adaptability” and “eagerness,” Hirt said, set high expectations for Glenwood volleyball.

“They didn’t settle or give up when things got down, they fought back and they set that stage for our program, just like those three seniors last year,” she added. “These seniors took over and kept it on our minds to get to the regional final or to state. We didn’t get there but they were a huge energy drive for our team. The girls we have coming back are already fired up for next year.”

Hirt sees a bright future on the horizon for Glenwood volleyball.

“It’s baby steps, it’s not going to happen overnight, it might be another year or to or maybe its next year, I don’t know. But the program will get to where we want it to be.”