Fall 2022 Preview: Glendale Volleyball

By Chris Parker

Glendale volleyball took a big step forward last year winning 14 games, which was the most since 2016 when the Lady Falcons won 17 games.

“I feel like our team worked so hard in the off season and in the summer to improve. They were very impatient and had the drive to want to be better as a team and a program,” the coach said. Glendale manager Iceley Stieb “They have so much drive and dedication to the sport and they want to see our program succeed. Working so hard in the off-season will be a key part of helping us succeed this year.” To maintain our momentum, we need to keep building on our successes from last year and just keep working hard on and off the pitch. We need to keep growing as a team and keep developing our skills. We also need to come every match prepared and ready to play.

The Lady Falcons return their only all-conference first-team selection to Tatum Kuntz this year. The Libero led Glendale in digs (612) and served receptions (509) last year.

“Tatum is such a good defensive player and he’s extremely consistent. She works hard to get as many touches as possible and is a great leader on the pitch for us. Tatum is very scrappy and works hard to get a great pass for us at every ball. Tatum does an exceptional job of reading the batter and getting into a good position to get a good pass for us every time. The energy she brings to the field helps our team succeed,” said Stieb: “I’m looking for Tatum to play captain for us this year. His university experience will help him lead his team and will be a great asset for us on the pitch. She will basically start our attack with a pass every play and having her pass as much as she can is key for us to be successful. I expect Tatum to help lead our team this season.

Seniors Sofia Blasingim, Bailey Tittsworth and Jaclyn Moreno along with juniors Lyla Flinn, Libby Allen, Avery Kinney and Kaitlyn Brady complete an experienced returning core for Glendale.

Blasingim is an outside hitter who went all 98 sets last year with 92 kills.

“Sofia will be a big hitter for us this season,” Stieb said. “Sofia gives us a solid swing from any position and is extremely versatile in the front row. Sofia has a very fast arm swing and will provide us with a good swing on the outside.

Tittsworth, a passer and defensive specialist, led Glendale with 383 assists last year and was third on the team with 248.

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“Bailey is another solid player who will provide us with a consistent effort as a setter and passer,” Stieb said. “Bailey will provide a good set for our hitters and be able to help execute an effective offense this year. Bailey will also be able to play strong defense for us.

Moreno will return as a defensive specialist after finishing third on the team with 298 service receptions and 203 digs.

“Jaclyn will be a huge force for our team this year on the defense side,” Stieb said. “Her defensive and passing skills have improved from last year and she will provide us with a solid pass to run an effective attack. Jaclyn is a very scrappy and fast player and strives to pass every ball well.

Flinn will see an expanded role in the batting midfield this year after going 39 sets last year.

“Lyla is a solid middle hitter for us and she’s going to be our favorite hitter,” Stieb said. “She will provide us with a strong hit and put up a solid block. She’s a great offensive option for us on every touch. Lyla works hard to deliver a solid, strong hit every time she swings the ball. Lyla brings such good energy to the court and is a great competitor.

Libby Allen will also be a hitting midfielder in her freshman year.

“Libby is a huge presence for us on the pitch with her size and skill set,” Stieb said. “Libby will provide us with very strong hitting and blocking and will be one of our best hitters. We expect her to be a big key for us on offense and defense this year. Libby is a hard worker who will provide us with great swings this season that will be key to our success.

Kinney will split setter and right hitter duties. She had 104 kills last year.

“Avery will be a very strong and powerful hitting option for us this season,” Stieb said. “Avery can place the ball really well and hit around his block, delivering a solid kill. Avery will have a huge offensive impact on the field for us as a hitter and passer. Avery will also be instrumental for us this season. His knowledge and experience really helps him lead a solid attack for our team. His will to win will be beneficial for the success of our teams.

Kaitlyn Brady will be a versatile offensive weapon hitting from the outside, midfield and right side.

“Kaitlyn will be a key player on our offense this season,” Stieb said. “Kaitlyn comes in strong and looking forward to playing. Kaitlyn is a very smart player and is always looking for ways to improve herself and her team. Her leadership and heart will be a huge asset and help carry the team this year. She will bring also a positive attitude and an uplifting personality.

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Allison Johns (senior outside/right side), Emma Hawkins (second setter/right side), Aryah Moore (junior defensive specialist), Lydia Schildknecht (junior defensive specialist), Ella Ecker (junior outside hitter) and Amari Isaia (junior setter) will be newcomers to watch.

Stieb on Johns: “Allison is a very strong hitter and can provide us with a solid swing when set. We expect her to deliver an aggressive hit to kill the team. Allison is good at adjusting her offense to deliver a different hit to the other team each time. Allison also brings tremendous energy to the field which will help our team stay strong and positive.

Stieb on Hawkins: “Emma is a rising young player who will be a big asset to us this season. Emma will play on the right side and provide us with a solid shot on every ball. Emma is very present on the pitch and working hard to improve herself and her team. Emma will also receive a few touches as a setter this season, Emma has incredible knowledge of the pitch and can execute an effective attack.

Stieb on Moore: “Aryah is one of our most versatile players. Aryah will play a backrow for us this season. She provides solid defense and is incredibly quick and scrappy. Aryah does a great job providing us with a solid pass to lead a solid attack Her defensive and passing skills have improved from last year and she will provide us with a solid pass to lead an effective attack.

Stieb on Schildknecht: “Lydia is a solid defensive player who will provide a great pass and dig for us this season. Lydia is a very scrappy player and strives to pass every ball.

Stieb on Ecker: “Ella is a very strong and hard-hitting outside hitter. She can take a solid swing on every ball and provide us with such an impressive kill. Ella is struggling with a hip injury and we hope to find her again at some point this season.

Stieb on Isaia: “Amari is such a great leader and teammate on and off the pitch. Amari is doing a great job leading her team and directing an effective attack. Amari is coming back from a shoulder injury and we hope to have her back at some point. given this season.

The players mentioned above are 13 top class men, which will be a major strength for Glendale volleyball this year.

“I think our greatest strength this season would be experience. We have a lot of girls coming back this season with huge experience at the college level,” Stieb said. “These girls will give us the confidence and the knowledge to play. We have a lot of depth in our program this year and several extremely versatile players. This will help us to have a solid formation in every game. This team will be ready to enter the field every game and will be ready to play.

Glendale will host Branson and West Plains for a jamboree on August 23. The Lady Falcons open the regular season Sept. 1 at home against Rogersville.

“The team worked hard during the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season,” Stieb said. “We hope their hard work and determination will continue and help us achieve success this season. We look forward to being competitive and fighting hard in every game and throughout the season. We will fight hard in every game and with our determination we are excited for more wins and success.

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