HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

Growing the Grizzlies

Glenn volleyball team shooting for playoff appearance in second year of existence

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There aren’t any banners hanging in the gym at Glenn. The volleyball team wants to change that as early as this season.

The Lady Grizzlies are in their second year of existence and have playoff aspirations this season. They have won their last two district games, sweeping Taylor last Tuesday and beating Salado in five sets on Friday.

“Last year, we (beat Taylor) in five sets instead of three so it shows our improvement as a team,” junior Olivia Langdon said. “I was really happy and everyone was really pumped about it. We took it really personally.”

The team is made up of athletes form Rouse and Leander and there are eight players that transferred in to start the program. Langdon, who came from Rouse, said the initial move was nerve-wracking but that has shifted to excitement and adrenaline.

Emily Marchell was one of the only girls to come in from Leander and said the time it didn't take long for the team to bond. The biggest challenge was going from playing on the freshman team right to the varsity level.

“It felt like a fresh start and I could be part of something that wanted me to be a part of it. I used to be really quiet and shy and now I’ve stepped to be a leader of the team and helped us win. I’m proud of that.”

For a team in just their second year, the Lady Grizzlies have undergone some big changes, most notably a new coach. Ashley Foster joined the program in the offseason, taking over for Marie Bruce, who left coaching to take a teaching job at Georgetown.

Foster played collegiately at Stephen F. Austin and began coaching club teams near her home in Dallas. She coached in the Wylie ISD and Coppell ISD and was the assistant coach at Dripping Springs last year.

This is her first head coaching job but is relying on her experience in coaching at middle school programs and helping promote the girls form one program to the bigger high school programs.

“Building a program is something that I’ve always been invested in because the middle school level is supposed to feed the high school programs,” she said. “I feel like I have that experience of continuing to build something good. I’ve done this before and I wanted to see what I could do at the high school level.”

Foster said her expectation of getting better every day has already been fulfilled, but her desire to get the Lady Grizzlies to the postseason has yet to be completed and it’s her job to show them how to get there.

But the biggest surprise has been the number of people that tell just how much better the team is for last season when they finished 8-27 overall and 4-8 in district play last year. Glenn already has 13 wins overall and two wins in district play this season.

“We get bummed out sometimes when we lose,” Langdon said. “But us not winning makes us more determined to come out in round two because we know what to expect. We lost (to Liberty Hill) but we’re excited to see how much we’ve improved and we’re going to be ready to see what happens.”

Junior Sydney Carvajal leads the team with 212 kills and 98 blocks while Gabby Thomas has added 170 kills. Langdon is first on the team with 393 digs and Marchell has team-high 484 assists.

Glenn has many volleyball programs in LISD that it can model itself after. Rouse is currently ranked No. 1 in the state, Cedar Park is up to No. 16 and went to the state final last season, and Vandegrift cracked the state poll at No. 25.

Foster said the ability to look to other programs to help with the little things is nice, but the support of the Glenn parents has been incredible.

“Even though they haven’t been built to know that yet, the parents have been beyond supportive,” Foster said. “You come to anything the booster club is putting on or anything he parents put on to support the girls and it’s off the charts amazing.”

Glenn continues district play on Friday night at 6 p.m. on the road against Lampasas and travels to take on Burnet next Tuesday night. They travel for the rematch against Liberty Hill is next Friday at 6 p.m.

“I always ask the girls what their mark is going to be on the program,” Foster said. “They’re it. People are going to see what they started. That’s something that I’m proud of and they should be too. But when you’re proud of something, you work really hard for it.”

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