Glenelg cruises past Hammond

Stradling, Tursell lead 7th-ranked Gladiators

October 16, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Crisp and business-like from the opening serve, Glenelg's volleyball team made short work of visiting Hammond last night, getting solid play from setter Tara Stradling and middle hitter Sarah Tursell in an easy 15-3, 15-6, 15-10 win.

"We've been playing really well lately, more together as a team than last year," said Stradling, who had 17 assists for the 9-2 Gladiators. "I think we served the ball well, and it forced them into some errors."

The No. 7 Gladiators - whose only losses this year have come in five-game matches against No. 4 Centennial and No. 6 River Hill - consistently served away from Hammond's Julie Bixler, one of the county's best at serve receive, which made it tough for the Bears to run their offense. In the opening game, Glenelg's Alyssa Huber served seven straight points to help the Gladiators win going away.

"Julie is very good at starting our offense, and we had to adjust when they placed their serves away from her," said Hammond coach Ken McLaughlin, whose Bears are a much-improved 6-4 this season. "Not every team does that to us, but then not every coach is as smart as [Glenelg coach Jennifer Beal]."

Stradling, a sophomore, didn't have similar problems getting the Gladiators into an offensive groove. According to Beal, Stradling's quick decision-making is the key to Glenelg's up-tempo attack, and she consistently put Tursell and outside hitter Melanie Mills in positions to put the ball away."[Stradling) is making good decisions on where to set the ball depending on where the block is," Beal said. "She's also getting more aggressive. I like to run a fast offense because I think it's easier to score points that way, and we've been working on our passing a lot. We've got the hitters if the pass is there."

Glenelg has some size as well in Tursell and Adrienne McGill, both 6-footers. The Gladiators cruised again in the second game behind Tursell, who finished with seven kills and five blocks, and McGill was also solid with four kills.

"We play them again on Thursday, so we'll see what becomes of the rematch," Tursell said.

After falling behind 6-1 in the third game, Hammond charged back to take a 10-9 lead behind Bixler, who had eight of the Bears' 16 kills in the match. But Glenelg regrouped after a timeout.

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