By Brian Hoffman
The Glenvar volleyball team is going back to the state tournament, and they won’t have to go far. The Highlanders will be looking to win their second straight Class 2 championship when they play at the Salem Civic Center Saturday at 4:30 pm.
Glenvar’s opponent was yet to be determined at press time, but it will be either Poquoson or East Rockingham. Those were the semifinalists from Region A and B, respectively, and they played on Wednesday for the other spot in the final.
Glenvar, at 25-0, is the Region C champion. The Highlanders punched their ticket to the state final on Tuesday when they beat the Region D champion, Gate City, in three sets at GHS. The Highlanders won 25-22, 25-20 and 25-17 to advance to Saturday’s state championship match.
The Salem Civic Center will host three Virginia High School League state championship games on Saturday, beginning with the Class 3 championship at noon. The Class 1 final is scheduled for 2:15 pm with the Class 2 match to wrap up a big day of volleyball.
Glenvar comes into the final on a 37 match winning streak. The Highlanders won their last 12 games of the 2021 season, culminating in a championship match win over Central of Woodstock. This season they’ve only lost one set all year, a 26-24 extra points loss to Giles in a match Glenvar otherwise dominated. Coach Mark Rohrback feels last years’ experience has been a big help to this year’s team, and will be a plus for his girls on Saturday.
“They’ve been there before so they won’t be in awe of the situation,” he said. “They’ll still be a little nervous, because it’s the state championship, but the experience they have should give them confidence.”
The Highlanders have taken on all comers in their march to the final. Last Wednesday at Glenvar they hosted Appomattox, who came to town with a 22-0 record and left with a 22-1 mark. The Highlanders were clearly the better of the two unbeaten teams in taking a 25-9, 25-19 and 25-9 win.
Hannah Hylton had 14 kills against Appomattox while Audrey Conner had 37 assists. Cara Butler had five aces, Sydney Loder had 11 kills and six blocks and Ryhan Harris had a strong all-around game with six kills and four blocks.
The win put Glenvar in the state tournament with a home match against John Battle on Saturday. Again, the Highlanders dominated against one of the best teams in Class 2 with a three set win, 25-8, 25-10 and 25-7. Claire Griffith had 12 kills and 19 digs, Conner had 36 assists, Hylton had 11 kills and five aces and Loder had eight kills and five aces.
That set up Tuesday’s semifinal against Gate City, and some figured this pitted the best two teams in the state. The Blue Devils gave the Highlanders a tough match but still lost in three. Gate City jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set, forcing Rohrback to use an early timeout.
“I hate to use one that early, but I thought I needed to stop their momentum,” he said. “Our girls came battling back, like they have all season.”
Griffith had 15 kills to lead Glenvar while Hylton had 10. Conner had 32 assists, Harris had 16 digs and Loder had seven blocks.
“That was a tough match,” said Rohrback. “The score wasn’t indicative of how close it was. We won the third set 25-17 but we had to fight for every point until it was over.”