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Spartans stand tall again League title goes to Grundy Center on strength of 3-0 sweep of G-R by Mark Pawlak

October 22, 2010
Northern-Sun Print
GRUNDY CENTER - The North Iowa Cedar League West Division standings on the gym wall told what was on the line. Undefeated Gladbrook-Reinbeck and undefeated Grundy Center for the conference volleyball title in the final game of league play. The Class 2A No. 9 Spartans repeated as conference champions Tuesday after turning back the visiting Rebels, 25-21, 25-18, 25-19. "Gladbrook(-Reinbeck) has had a great season, they came in undefeated and it made a nice little showdown tonight," said Grundy Center head coach Darwin Sents. "It was the appropriate time to be playing it at the end of the season. Both teams knew what was on the line." "The conference is something we think is really important," Sents added. "We really want to do a nice job in the conference and never lost a game all season. We take a lot of pride in that." "Our conference is tough. It's had a lot of success outside of the conference, other teams have done very well playing other teams not in our conference." The only senior on the roster for the Spartans (32-4, 6-0) led the way on Senior Night. Abby Graves finished with 13 kills, was 13-for-14 serving with four aces and had 19 digs. "She's still improving as the season goes along, you think as a four-year starter possibly you would start to coast, but I think the last couple weeks Abby's really intensified her effort. She's really doing a nice job for us," Sents said. "She's playing a lot stronger right now than she was a month, a month and a half ago, and that's fun to see." Games one and two saw Grundy Center jump out to a strong start and the Rebels fight back until the Spartans pulled away again at the end. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (22-9, 5-1) took its first lead of the night in game three at 2-1 and the two teams went back and forth. A Graves kill broke a 16-16 tie and Carissa Sternhagen followed with an ace for a two-point advantage. The Rebels couldn't get closer than one point the rest of the way and were unable to take advantage of their good start. "We shouldn't have let that third game get away from us," said G-R head coach Marcia Koester. "We were ahead, that's the game we needed to take. Tonight we started out too slow and we can't do that on a good team." Graves spiked the first point of the game down to the floor and the Spartans were off and running, scoring the first six points, also helped along by a pair of Sarah Johns service aces. "We had some great starts," Sents said, "it was almost too good." The Rebels trailed 20-10 and started to make their move and closed back to 23-20. A serving error and Graves kill closed the game out for Grundy Center. The Spartans took a 6-0 lead in game two as well. "You can not give them points like that and let them lead," Koester said. "Their momentum is going and ours wasn't. We were trying to fight from behind the whole night except that third game." Key kills in the late going by Emily Stoakes and Addi Kickbush allowed G-R to surge back to 22-17, yet Grundy Center held off the Rebels, 25-18. "That's what I love about my team, they're fighters," Koester said. "They have been all season, they've never given up. They've always fought for everything they've gotten and we've comeback to win games when we were behind. Tonight wasn't one of them, but we've done it in the past and I know we can do it again if it comes up that way down here in regional play." Jenna Roeding led Gladbrook-Reinbeck with seven kills and two blocks. Shannon Boyle and Stoakes added six kills apiece. Jill Schildroth finished with 21 assists. Kickbush led the Rebels' back row with 12 digs and Erin Wentzien added eight. Meghan Krausman had nine kills for the Spartans, Samantha Meyers added seven kills and Sarah Frisch five. Heather Hook registered 26 assists. Meyers had one solo block and two assists to lead the team. Krausman finished with 13 digs, Johns nine, Meyers seven and Sternhagen seven. Sternhagen was the leading server, going 17-for-17 with four aces. Both Gladbrook-Reinbeck and Grundy Center begin Class 2A Region 5 action next Tuesday at home. The Rebels square off with West Marshall, while AGWSR comes to Grundy Center. There is one final date on the regular season schedule Thursday night. Gladbrook-Reinbeck hosts North Tama. Grundy Center goes to Waverly for a triangular with Class 1A No. 1 Tripoli and Class 2A No. 13 Wapsie Valley at Wartburg.



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