Glenwood volleyball eliminates Harlan in four sets in Class 4-A regional opener

GLENWOOD, Iowa — The first set was a microcosm of the Glenwood and Harlan Community volleyball seasons.

Wild momentum swings. Look like a million bucks in one stretch. Look like a struggling unit the next.

Glenwood’s roller coaster ride ended with a little less queasiness than the Cyclones’ on Wednesday night. Despite almost squandering a 21-11 lead in the opener, the Rams eliminated Harlan 30-28, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22 in a Class 4-A regional opener.

“When I came in here last season, they’d get down in that rut and they’d give up,’’ Glenwood second-year coach Chelsey Hirt said. “So we do a lot of pressure drills. You can’t let that score faze you.’’

Glenwood (17-13) pushed through to advance to Tuesday’s regional semifinal at Lewis Central (20-13) against the 15th-rated Titans (20-13). Harlan ended at 18-21.

In the opener, Harlan rallied from a 21-11 deficit and held three set points, but couldn’t convert any of them. Joslyn Lewis’ kills squelched two of them, and another was wiped away on a missed serve. Another missed Harlan serve later gave the Rams their third set point, and Cera Gray’s remarkable diving save led to a Cyclone error, giving the hosts the set.

“There was a lot of ups and downs,’’ Harlan coach Willie Baughman said. “I told them in there that it was a fun match even though it didn’t end our way. That’s what volleyball is, it’s ups and downs, ups and downs, and who can control emotions.’’

Harlan evened the match by scoring the final four points of the second set after trailing 22-21. Olivia Petersen had two kills during the stretch.

The Rams sprinted to a 10-3 lead in the third set and never looked back, but the fourth set was a different story. Harlan started a set quickly for the first time in the match, leading 6-0 and 7-2.

Leading 22-20, the Cyclones seemed poised to send it to a fifth set. But a missed serve started a match-ending 5-0 burst. Senior Brielle Smith had consecutive kills, sophomore Kelly Embray served her sixth ace of the match and sophomore Elle Scarborough slammed her match-high 16th kill to end the nearly two-hour struggle.

“I think we just stayed calm,’’ Smith said. “We just kept pushing through it, and it all clicked.’’

The 5-foot-8 Scarborough had 11 of her 16 kills in the final two sets. Smith, also 5-8, finished with 14 kills in the middle.

“Brielle is such a good leader for her, because Elle looks up to Brielle a lot,’’ Hirt said. “When she sees Brielle smashing, it kind of gets her confidence back up.’’

The Ram coach praised the serving of Embray and the back-row hustle of junior libero Jaeda Wilson, who had a team-high 21 digs. But it took everyone, as 14 of the 15 Glenwood girls who suited played.

“I think sometimes parents see that as, ‘Why are you pulling my girl?’’’ Hirt said. “But sometimes you just need a mental break.’’

Hopkins led Harlan 14 kills, while Anna Ahrenholtz added 12 and Petersen had 10. All are seniors, along with Kara Weis, who handed out 44 assists.

In addition to the 21-11 hole it dug in the opener, Harlan trailed 6-1 in the second set and 10-3 in the third.

“It just drained us,’’ Baughman said. “They’re a good team when they get momentum. We weren’t able to pass well enough tonight to win the game.’’

Glenwood lost the regular-season meeting to Lewis Central 27-25, 25-16, 28-26. Hirt likes where her team is entering the match.

“I think if we come out like we did tonight and just improve our blocking a slight bit, we’ll be just fine,’’ she said.

Harlan (18-21)………….28 25 18 22

Glenwood (17-13)……..30 22 25 25

H (kills-aces-blocks): Kara Weis 0-1-1, Hayley Hopkins 14-1-1, Macie Leinen 7-0-3, Anna Ahrenholtz 12-0-4, Haley Manz 0-1-0, Olivia Petersen 10-2-4, Ashley Hall 0-0-0, Elise Juhl 1-0-0, Jandy Petersen 0-0-0, Lauren Andersen 0-0-0, Zophi Hendricks 6-0-1.

G (kills-aces-blocks): Jaeda Wilson 0-0-0, Erin Stanley 2-0-1, Cameron Rounds 0-1-0, Joslyn Lewis 9-0-1, Brooklyn Taylor 2-0-1, Elle Scarborough 16-0-3, Brielle Smith 14-2-3, Paige Hays 2-1-3, Kelly Embray 0-6-0, Kendall Bardsley 0-0-1, Cera Gray 0-2-0, Taryn Bertini 0-1-0, Grace Boles 0-1-0, Courtney Groom 0-0-0.

Set assists: H, Weis 44, Hall 4, Leinen 1; G, Bertini 18, Gray 13, Boles 7, Taylor 1. Digs: H, Hopkins 23, Hall 23, Juhl 13, Weis 12, Manz 7, Hendricks 5, Petersen 4, Leinen 2; G, Wilson 21, Scarborough 11, Smith 9, Rounds 8, Embray 8, Bertini 8, Gray 6, Boles 5, Hays 4, Lewis 3, Taylor 2, Stanley 1.

Iowa Regional Tournaments

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