Everything setting up well for Rebels by Mark Pawlak
October 8, 2010
REINBECK - Badges of honor for the volleyball season already include a pair of weekend tournament titles. Another special distinction for Gladbrook-Reinbeck is its first state ranking in over 20 years. The Rebels' rise has been fueled by a four-year starter at setter in Jill Schildroth. Gladbrook-Reinbeck stands 17-7 for the season and is in the IGHSAU state rankings for the second consecutive week, standing at No. 13 in Class 2A. The last Rebel team to earn a state ranking was the 1988 squad that was the runner-up at the state tournament. "I told the girls for all their hard work and everything they've done, they deserved to be in the rankings," said Gladbrook-Reinbeck head coach Marcia Koester. Schildroth has been a leader for G-R's first ranked team in 22 years as it entered the rankings at No. 12 on Sept. 23. "I kind of like being in control, being the one that everyone looks at between every play," Schildroth said of being the setter. "I get to talk to everybody on the court and try to keep everyone motivated." Schildroth has 483 total assists and 7.8 per game this season to go with leading the team in serve attempts (251), serve successes (237), serving percentage (.944), aces (36) and aces per game (0.6). She led the NICL West in assists and aces as a junior to earn first team all-NICL West and Times-Republican All-Area honors. A handful of college coaches were on hand and expressed interest in Schildroth over the weekend as the Rebels were at the NU High tournament and her assist total continued to climb. Schildroth is nearing a career-milestone assist as she is approaching No. 2,000. She currently sits at 1,978 career assists. "Her hard work in the off-season has made her a great setter for us," Koester said. "She does it every night in practice, just works hard," Koester added. "And she's helping the younger girls, she knows she's going to be gone, she's giving pointers on what to do as they're setting, helping them out trying to improve them as a setter too. That part of Jill is another great thing to have. "Her leadership this year has been huge. When we played Dike-New Hartford in our own tournament, she was the one that led us back from them taking one game from us. She was the one in the huddle that got the girls ready to go and to know they could do it." That win over the neighboring No. 10 Wolverines in the finals of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck tournament is one of three victories over ranked teams this season for the Rebels. G-R also has wins over Class 1A No. 3 Grandview Park Baptist (in the South Hardin tournament championship) and Class 1A No. 8 Janesville. The Rebels also are in position for their third straight 20-win season. "I think we've had a lot of girls get into club (volleyball) and just that much more experience has helped our offense run a little faster and our passing has improved a ton," Schildroth said. "Getting more touches in the winter makes just all that much more difference." Gladbrook-Reinbeck has five hitters coming into the week averaging between 1.3 and 2 kills per game with Shannon Boyle, Jenna Roeding, Emily Stoakes, Emily Dinsdale and Addi Kickbush. "It's nice to have all the different hitters we have," Schildroth said. "I can mix it up a lot more." Carrie Shouse has stepped in well for an injured Boyle with the No. 2 hitting percentage among the players at the net. "I think it makes it easier for (Jill) this year that we have so many options, where we haven't in the past," Koester said. "She had to go to maybe one or two in the front row and if that person wasn't on for the night, then it was tough and we had to do something else." The Rebels are in a tie for first place in the NICL West at 5-0 with Grundy Center. G-R earned a three-game sweep of third-place South Hardin Tuesday to stay undefeated. Boyle is expected to be back on the court soon and the postseason is quickly approaching with G-R opening against West Marshall Oct. 19 in Reinbeck. "As long as we keep motivated and keep doing what we've been doing previously," Schildroth said, "we'll be alright." The Trojans ended G-R's season last fall in the regional quarterfinals. Schildroth's career-high of 13.5 assists per game came as she recorded 54 assists in the Rebels' win over West Marshall Sept. 28. "Starting out as a freshman we used Jill as one of the setters in our 6-2," Koester said. "We knew she was very capable of coming into the varsity role as a freshman and every year she has improved. She knows I lean on her, I put a lot of pressure on her at times to get the ball where it needs to go so we can get a kill or we can get a sideout. She's just been a plus for our team all the way around."
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