CEDAR RAPIDS — Making its first state volleyball appearance in school history, eighth-seed Glenwood had No. 1 Sergeant Bluff-Luton in its sights Tuesday at the US Cellular Center, but couldn’t pull off the upset. S.B.-L. won in four sets over the Rams to advance to the Class 4-A semifinals against West Delaware.
“That was a really good match,” Glenwood coach Chelsey Hirt said. “This team deserves to come here and show everybody what we have. And I think we did that.”
All four sets could’ve went either way. It was a dogfight, and neither team was backing down. Sergeant Bluff-Luton saved off several set-points in the first set, before fighting back to win 27-25.
“I’m disappointed that my high school volleyball career is over,” Glenwood libero Jaeda Wilson said. “But, I’m not disappointed in this one, to take a set from the top seed is awesome. We made history, that’s pretty cool. We still did something no one else has done (earning trip to state tournament).”
Glenwood was fired up from start to finish. After dropping the second set 25-17, Glenwood won the third set 25-23. At set point, Elle Scarborough shut the door on Sergeant Bluff-Luton with a big block at the net.
“I think we have a lot of talent on our team,” Glenwood senior Kendall Bardsley said. “To see all of that talent come together on this court is huge for our town.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton got ahead in the fourth set, and spent a lot of energy trying to close out the match, which it did, 25-18.
“They had a little more weapon than we do,” Hirt said. “But, the thing with our girls is they’re fighters. One thing that’s really come along with this program, at least the last three years that I’ve been here, is the mindset.
“They don’t get shaken very easily like they used to. I’m just super proud of them for that, because that could’ve easily been a three-setter and demolished us.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton senior Kenzie Foley had a big night, eight kills shy of breaking the state record. Foley collected 27 kills in four sets, to go along with one ace and two blocks. Elle Sneller added 12 kills and four blocks, while Emma Salker had nine kills and three blocks.
For Glenwood, Taryn Bertini and Scarborough led the way with nine kills apiece. Bardsley finished with seven kills, while Brynlee Arnold had six kills and seven blocks.
Grace Boles added 19 set assists, and Kelly Embray had 13 set assists and nine digs. Wilson led the defense with 15 digs and was all over the court most of the night.
Scarborough and Arnold will both be back to lead Glenwood next season. Boles and Embray will both be seniors next year, and Kennedy Jones will be a junior.
“We’re pretty young; the middles are only sophomores,” Hirt said. “Watching them work is so fun for me. One of them didn’t have a varsity suit last year, and just watching her is so exciting. The other one had a varsity suit last year, but didn’t play a lot, and now she’s breaking blocking records.
“As a coach, it’s so fun to watch them develop. These girls are sponges.”
Glenwood did itself proud in its first state volleyball showing. This was a brawl. Each side not giving an inch. In the end, Sergeant Bluff-Luton was too much, winning in four sets.
“This is going to be remembered forever,” Hirt said. “Just watching how our community comes together. We had so many people here. Our student section, and just the support behind us is just amazing.”
SB-L (35-3) 27 25 23 25
Glenwood (30-13) 25 17 25 18
Stat leaders (kills-aces-blocks): Glenwood: Elle Scarborough (9-0-6), Taryn Bertini (9-0-2), Kendall Bardsley (7-0-1), Brynlee Arnold (6-0-7), Grace Boles (19 set assists), Kelly Embray (13 set assists, 9 digs), Jaeda Wilson (15 digs). S.B.-L.: Kenzie Foley (27-1-2), Elle Sneller (12-0-4), Emma Salker (9-2-3), Regina Rogers (8-0-4), Maddie Hinkel (25 set assists).