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Bland: Glenwood sees shot at first state berth

Bland: Glenwood sees shot at first state berth

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One six-day stretch was all Glenwood needed.

The Rams played solid volleyball much of the season. They beat most of the teams they should, but lacked any big wins.

That changed Oct. 9, when Glenwood toppled state-rated Creston in five sets. For an encore, the Class 4-A team added another five-set upset at state-rated Council Bluffs Lewis Central on Oct. 14.

These results didn’t just give the Rams (16-13) bragging rights against other large-school Hawkeye Ten Conference rivals, they gave hope to a program starved for postseason success. Creston is Glenwood’s first regional opponent Monday — with Lewis Central awaiting the winner in the semifinals — as it searches for its first appearance at the state tournament.

“It was definitely a huge confidence boost,” Glenwood coach Maria Jacobus said. “We feel our regional is pretty wide open. There are a lot of possibilities there for us to go deep if we want to.”

Though the first round of regionals for Class 1-A and 2-A were held earlier this week, the meat of the playoffs begins Monday with opening matches in 3-A, 4-A and 5-A. The 1-A and 2-A tournament trails get into full swing Tuesday.

With that in mind, it’s time to acknowledge the final edition of The World-Herald’s western Iowa volleyball ratings for the season. As it has all year, Harlan holds the top spot in the Class 5-A/4-A/3-A division, while Treynor retains No. 1 in the 2-A/1-A class. The ratings reflect play through Wednesday night.

Area schools are part of 12 regional brackets across all five classes. About six regions contain western Iowa teams that could be considered favorites to reach Cedar Rapids.

While not quite in The World-Herald ratings for area large schools, Glenwood is a prime example of why the postseason can be so fun. Its big week catapulted it to No. 12 in the 4-A state rankings, and it now sits at No. 14. In a region that includes No. 15 ADM and recently ranked Creston and Lewis Central, there is no clear favorite.

The Rams boast six girls averaging more than a kill per set. That includes all three seniors in Courtney Magnussen (2.23), Halie Darrow (1.41) and Jana King (1.08), along with juniors Lyndie Van Ness (1.47), Kali Mumm (1.46) and Kaycee Clark (1.04).

Jacobus said depth and reliable defense have been keys in the resurgence. Junior libero Olivia Scarborough paces the Hawk-10 with 5.22 digs per set, and all-around players Darrow and Van Ness are improved passers as well. Magnussen (89 total blocks) has also emerged as a formidable net presence.

Junior Myranda Starner — a setter in the 6-2 offense with King — rounds out the eight-girl rotation.

“You always key in on one or two players that you know are going to be the go-to people pretty consistently,” Jacobus said. “With us, we’re spread out. We’ve got even numbers all the way through our rotation, and I think that’s a strength for us.”

Jacobus, in her third year coaching at Glenwood, took Clarinda to state in 2010. Though her squad followed the wins over Creston and Lewis Central with a three-set loss at Carroll Kuemper on Tuesday, she’s seen enough to believe her group has the potential to play a couple more weeks.

“We could set a little bit of history here at Glenwood,” Jacobus said. “Certainly the door is open if we just want to walk through.”

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