Ending with pride: G-R takes fight to Janesville in state defeat

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck volleyball team poses with its state quarterfinalist trophy after Wednesday's match with Janesville in Cedar Rapids. (Jake Ryder photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS – The Gladbrook-Reinbeck volleyball team got to U.S. Cellular Center plenty early for Wednesday's state quarterfinal.


G-R head coach Paula Kelley knew it'd be important for her team to understand the atmosphere before they took on three-time defending champion Janesville.


Even then, Kelley would've expected the Rebels to be nervous at first serve.


That wasn't the case, as Janesville twice had to rally back from early G-R scoring runs to knock out the Rebels in a sweep.


The Wildcats prevailed 25-14, 25-21, 25-13, and went on to secure the state championship four-peat later that week, but G-R wasn't afraid to take it to Janesville right away, scoring the first five points of the first set and building an 8-2 lead in each of the first two sets before Janesville rallied to victory.


"I thought the nerves would get us early," Kelley said. "We came in early enough to sit, watch and experience, and feel it. We had nothing to lose and they gave it all they got, I'm so proud of them."


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