Glencoe volleyball falls to top-ranked Southridge in straight sets
What started as a battle between two of the top-ranked volleyball teams in the state ended with the No. 1-ranked team reinforcing its position as the likely favorite to take home the hardware in next month's state tournament.
Top-ranked Southridge flexed its muscle Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Glencoe High School, beating the No. 7-ranked Tide in straight sets 25-20, 25-18, and 25-16 on Senior Night in Hillsboro. Glencoe fought hard and made the Skyhawks work for much of the first two sets, but in the end Southridge had too much height, too much athleticism and far too much Chloe Brown for the Tide and their exuberant home crowd.
"We played them better than we played them the first time, so I was very pleased about that," said Glencoe head coach Mike Gaffaney. "I thought the first and second set we battled and competed, but we don't match up well with them. I'm not sure anyone in the state does."
Brown repeatedly battered the Tide with powerful kills from both the interior and the outside, wearing down the exceptional Glencoe defense with surgical precision.
"You really just try to slow her down," said Gaffaney. "You try and put blocks up and make intelligent reads, but it's so hard to execute blocks against her because she hits it so hard. She really makes very few mistakes."
The first set was close throughout with the two teams seesawing back-and-forth, trading the lead to an 18-18 tie before Brown took over. The senior killed three consecutive points to make it 23-19, then blasted a spike past a defenseless Glencoe front line for the set's deciding point. The University of Miami-bound Brown had 10 kills in the opening set, showing the Glencoe faithful why she's one of the state's top netters.
"What makes her special is her productivity in all six rotations, she's a leader and she's a great kid," said Southridge head coach Carol Lambert. "One of the best teammates you could ask for, one of the best kids to coach, always open to feedback and always just wants to play hard."
The second set was more of the same for Glencoe. The Tide got great performances from seniors Ash Bailey and Brie Hopman who combined for 18 kills on the night, and leaned heavily on their exceptional defense, but while jumping-out to a 13-10 lead, the home Tide simply couldn't withstand the avalanche of attacks from Brown, Natalie Hoff and 6-foot-4 sophomore Cameron Brink.
"They're so big and they're very athletic," said Gaffaney. "They've got great personnel and they're getting better as the season goes on. They've got great senior leadership and it shows."
The third set was less competitive as Glencoe seemed to see the writing on the wall. But the Skyhawks and coach Lambert respect the Tide and knew the night would be a battle.
"This is a great environment to play in because Glencoe is a good team and their fans are always great," Lambert said. "They're a super good defensive team and I was excited to play them again because it always makes us better" — something that may be good for Southridge, but likely isn't for the rest of the state's schools trying to beat them going forward.