Howard County High School Sports: Fall: Region/States: Class 1A Volleyball: Hard work is Glenelg's 'inside track'

Thursday, November 13
Class 1A Volleyball: Hard work is Glenelg's 'inside track'


Halfway through the first game of Glenelg's Class1A state semifinal with Colonel Richardson on Monday night, the Poolesville volleyball team got up and left Ritchie Coliseum in College Park.

Maybe team members thought they had seen enough. Glenelg, the No. 8 seed, was losing badly. Maybe the Falcons of Montgomery County thought they would be playing Colonel Richardson tomorrow night in the 1A state championship game.

But Glenelg rallied for a strong performance, winning, 16-25, 25-15, 25-5, 25-19, to set up tomorrow's meeting with Poolesville.

"If I was a betting man, I'd put my money on Poolesville," Glenelg coach Don Beale said of the matchup. "They're undefeated [17-0]. They're the No.1 seed. We're 10-10 and No. 8. But I've got an inside track."

Beale knows how hard his team has worked this season and how tough the competition was for his Gladiators. They have come into the postseason just one win removed from a nine-game losing streak and with a 5-10 record, but they had yet to play another 1A team.

"We started the tournament 5-10, and it is the first losing season I've ever had at Glenelg," Beale said. "It was disappointing, but we're all on the same ship. We can't sink it. Everyone was doing their best. I told them to keep their eyes on the bigger picture. I don't think the teams in our region are as battle-tested as we are. I try to play a tough schedule and to play as many people as I can, so if someone gets injured the way they did last year [Glenelg lost its top two players before the championship game and finished runner-up], we can still compete."

Since the tournament started, Glenelg has turned its pre-tournament one-game winning streak into a six-game streak. The set it dropped Monday is the only one it has lost in the past six games. "It's a nice run, and I think we've got one more [win] in us," Beale said.

The Gladiators, three-time state champions, with their most recent title coming as a 2A school in 2005, are anchored by two juniors, Casey Schmidt and Hannah Gaw. Schmidt had 15 kills, 19 digs and 11 aces and Gaw had 25 assists in Monday's come-from-behind semifinal win.