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Rebels rock, roll Thunder

11th-ranked G-R netters sweep No. 12 Grand View Christian

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior middle hitter Katie Clark (10) takes the set from Emma McClintock, lower right, and sends it past Grand View Christian defender Kelly DeMeulanaere during Tuesday’s ranked volleyball showdown in Reinbeck.

REINBECK — Two-thirds of Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s 3-0 sweep of No. 12 Grand View Christian (6-5) Tuesday night was routine.

Against a team just one spot behind them in the latest IGHSAU rankings, the Class 1A No. 11 Rebels were convincing — winning 25-9 in set one and 25-14 in set two. There wasn’t one standout player, but the team was working well as a unit. The Thunder were exasperated on the opposite sideline and a home crowd was giving the Rebels more momentum.

But in the third set, G-R wasn’t as sharp or clinical. The Thunder had the lead at one point and kept tight with the Rebels, but in the end it was a sweep, 25-19.

Closing out games has been an issue for G-R, said coach Paula Kelley.

“We’ve been letting teams back in, not giving a push and not really focusing tight on the third game,” Kelley said. “That’s something we’ve been working on in practice.”

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Still, the 3-0 win pushes G-R to 7-1 on the season.

The first set was simple — G-R was confident in the block and balanced in the attack, Kelley said. With the defense running on all cylinders, it opened the door for G-R’s offense to get running. The Rebels forced timeouts from the Thunder with the scores at 12-4 and 18-6. Despite the timeouts and adjustments attempted, the Rebels were in control.

G-R had 56 digs on defense, with Saari Kuehl leading the way at 15. Alyssa Morgan had 11 and Mahayla Olson had nine. RiLynn Bergmann and Emma McClintock and eight and six digs, respectively. Megan Cooley and Katie Clark got three digs each and Ava Wyatt had one. The Rebels had six solo blocks and 11 assisted blocks. Cooley had three solo blocks and two assists, while Clark had two solos and three assists. Wyatt had the other solo block and added an assist. McClintock had three assists and Kuehl and Olson had one each.

Kelley said the defense was key to their success offensively.

“We had some great front row play again today with blocking,” Kelley said. “It just seemed to all click there the first two games.”

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Offensively the Rebels continued to be consistent in set two, with the 25-14 advantage leaving the Thunder searching for answers.

McClintock was the offensive hub for G-R, assisting on 28 of the team’s 29 kills and running the offense with few mistakes. Kuehl led the team with eight kills and committed three errors. Cooley and Clark had six kills each and three errors between them. Olson and Wyatt got five kills apiece, while McClintock got one kill to go with all her assists. Morgan had the lone assist to McClintock.

G-R had eight aces — four from Cooley, two from Kuehl and one each for Morgan and McClintock.

The struggles to close the game out in set three led to a timeout with the score at 17-16. After this timeout, the Rebels came out with new purpose and scored eight of the match’s final 11 points.

Working on the closeouts is extremely important for the Rebels, Kelley said, because she feels the team can stack up against anyone when they’re in tune as a unit.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

“I think we’re a very tough team,” Kelley said. “When all those cylinders are going and we’re in rhythm, we’re a tough team to beat. Not that any given time we can’t lose that momentum, and we can be beaten by anybody at the same time, but when we’re doing well it’s fun to watch.”

The Rebels play Thursday at home against North Tama, with first serve set for 7:30 p.m.

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