South Hardin takes the five-set route against Rebels by Ross Thede /T-R Sports Editor
October 7, 2011
REINBECK - South Hardin has had more five-setters than it'd care to. Gladbrook-Reinbeck got its first and worst taste of them on Tuesday night. The Rebels had their hot-pink fans in full fervor for two sets but could not close out South Hardin, which rallied to hand G-R its first NICL West Division volleyball defeat by taking the last three sets, 14-25, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21, 15-11. The Tigers (10-10, 3-3) scored the first three points of the deciding set and got a boost from two missed serves following side-outs by Gladbrook-Reinbeck (12-10, 5-1). The Rebels, who took their turn promoting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by sporting black uniforms with pink trim, played the part of a team new to the fifth set this season. South Hardin was fresh off its second five-set match of the season, a 3-2 loss at home to AGWSR last Tuesday. The Tigers also opened up league play with a five-set triumph over league newcomer South Tama a month ago. "It's a matter of determination," said South Hardin head coach Karla Bronzynksi. "The kids at first didn't understand our scouting report until they see it first-hand." The Tigers' comeback began in the second set, but it seemed so far-fetched after a dominant Gladbrook-Reinbeck performance in the opener. The Rebels fired out behind strong serving and a varied attack to lead game one 12-4, and eventually an eight-point spurt served up by Emily Stoakes made it 20-11 G-R. Jenna Roeding racked up a right-side kill, Shelton Hatch chalked up a block, Carrie Shouse converted a set in the middle and Addi Kickbush served an ace for the final point, 25-14, but that was the last time the Rebels truly finished off South Hardin. G-R inched ahead 24-20 in game two, but the Tigers showed their spirit with the next four points. Alana Mairs logged consecutive blocks to help erase the Rebel advantage, but Emily Dinsdale hit off the block and Stoakes dropped a tip in for a 26-24 set. Mairs, who had only two aces in the first set, charted four kills and five blocks in game two. It was where South Hardin's rally had to start, and it did. "The momentum change was just a killer for us," said G-R head coach Marcia Koester. "I don't feel like the girls lost momentum, but something happened." Gladbrook-Reinbeck again led by as many as four in the early stages of the third set, but Libbie Hillmer started swinging for South Hardin and scored three straight points. Ellen Swartz got a kill off the block and an errant G-R attack made it 19-17 Tigers. The two teams traded points back and forth before Kayla Prosser's block of Dinsdale gave South Hardin an innocent-enough 25-22 triumph. Again, G-R jumped out first in the fourth set, leading 8-4 and 15-11. A lack of communication on the Rebels' court helped South Hardin pull ahead, 17-16, and a Prosser ace later made it 21-19 Tigers. Mairs added an ace for a 23-20 lead, Kate Shindelar found the floor with a tip, and Swartz got a touch for the 25-21 win. South Hardin took initiative in the fifth set, getting out to a 3-0 lead and keeping the cushion. Kills by Shindelar, Mairs and Swartz made it 11-6, and G-R was officially in trouble. The Rebels started looking to their kills leader, but Dinsdale didn't have all the answers and a rare right-side kill from Alesha Kadolph closed out the match in South Hardin's favor. "They just don't give up," Bronzynksi said. "We've played a lot of tough ones and it's paying off this time of year for us." Mairs and Swartz finished with 12 kills apiece to lead the Tigers. Hillmer finished with eight, while Kadolph, Prosser and Shindelar had five each. Mairs had eight blocks and three aces as well, with Prosser tallying 25 assists and Kadolph 21. The Rebels will no longer have their league-unbeaten showdown with Grundy Center again, but a win over the Class 2A No. 4 Spartans next Tuesday night in Reinbeck would still earn G-R a share of the league title. It might take more than the Rebels showed on this night, however. "In the crunch time I haven't seen my girls step up to win it, to want it," said Koester. "It's getting toward the end of the season. It's time for somebody to step up and want that ball and it's not happening." Dinsdale finished with 13 kills, two blocks and three aces for the Rebels. Kickbush had 11 kills, Stoakes 10, Shouse eight and Roeding six. Hatch and Roeding led the way with three blocks apiece.
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