Taking their turn: G-R volleyball ready for state challenge

Gladbrook-Reinbeck volleyball celebrates a regional final victory last Tuesday over Ar-We-Va in Boone. The Rebels are making their first appearance in the state volleyball tournament since 1988 this week. (Kristi Nixon photo)

REINBECK – From here on out, Gladbrook-Reinbeck volleyball's opponents can't afford to take anything for granted with the run the Rebels have had at the end of this season.

 

They upended the outlook of Class 1A in the regional semifinals by bouncing a North Tama team that returned nearly all of its firepower from last year's state run. They locked in for a regional final victory last Tuesday against Ar-We-Va.

 

Gladbrook-Reinbeck, for the first time since 1988, is back at the state volleyball tournament.

 

The Rebels will try to keep their Cinderella season alive on Wednesday against top-ranked and three-time defending champion Janesville.

 

"We're familiar with Janesville, they beat us out in the second-round last year," G-R head coach Paula Kelley said. "They play the same type of game we play compared to a team like Ar-We-Va that ran things more through their middle. … It's good to defend against something we know. We will have a lack of experience at the state level, and that will probably be the biggest thing."

 

Of the 1A state qualifiers, Janesville's Bree Thompson and G-R's Saari Kuehl are No. 1 and No. 2 in total kills. Thompson has 547 kills (4.97 per set), Kuehl 439 (4.62 per set).

 

Kuehl slammed 20 kills in the regional final victory over Ar-We-Va.

 

"Everyone's gonna want it bad," Kuehl said. "We have to leave it out on the court, we have nothing to lose. … They'll be competitive, but so will we."

 

For the full story, see this week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. Coverage of G-R's run at the state tournament will appear in the Nov. 15 Register.