By Seth Askelson
A frustrating sweep at the hands of Lincoln Land denied the Lady Gauchos a chance to defend their NJCAA Division II National Championship.
“Unfortunately nothing was clicking for us and nothing seemed to go our way.” Sophomore Libero Carli Bauer said.
The Glendale Community College volleyball team lost the semifinal match to the Loggers 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-19), by far the team’s worst game of the season.
“Every team has that game during the season where everyone is just off and not themselves,” Bauer said. “Ours, unfortunately happened to be during nationals.”
The team was able to rebound the next night, as they cruised to a three set sweep (25-16, 25-17, 25-21) over Des Moines Area Community College to take third place. The Lady Gauchos were a completely different team than the one that played in the semifinal the night before.
“I am super proud of our team for coming back 100 times stronger and ready to play the next day,” Bauer said.
The semifinal loss came as a shocker seeing as the team had dominated through the first two rounds, picking up three game sweeps over the 15 seed Fredrick and 7 seed Central.
“I think we were dominating because we had been looking forward to nationals for the past couple of weeks so we were all ready to go,” Bauer said. “We knew we wanted to be back there and we knew we had to keep a calm composure while doing so.”
While Glendale was unable to bring home the National Title for a second straight season, the team accomplished a ton even before they played a set in the national tournament.
Their record coming into the national tournament was 29-2, winning the Scottsdale Invitational Tournament, the San Diego City College Tournament, the ACCAC conference championship and taking home the Region 1 Championship on their own court.
The team finished with an overall record of 32-3, two of those losses coming at the hands of Scottsdale Community College and the third in the semifinal.
“Not many teams can say they did all of those things,” Bauer said. “But even more than that, not many people can say they have been apart of team where there are so many more important things than just winning like the unforgettable relationships that have been built between my teammates and coaches.”
Head Coach Lisa Stuck had to replace seven players from her championship team, and the freshmen stepped in nicely. Injuries to sophomore Kayla Dallmann (shoulder) and freshman Taylor Glidwell (knee) limited the team to only 12 players this season. Also, the team had a close bond that really helped them play as well as they did.
“Another huge advantage that makes us so successful is the team chemistry that is created within one another,” Bauer said. “We are sisters and we are willing to do anything for one another.”
A reason why the team has been so successful is that Coach Stuck, in her 18 years as head coach of the Lady Gauchos, has used her experience and knowledge to build a winning program and her girls enjoy playing for her.
“Lisa Stuck is one of the best coaches out there and she sets this program to high standards, but she does this and still manages to make it so fun for us players.” Bauer said.
Even though the goal of a second straight national title was not accomplished, this year’s edition of Gauchos Volleyball was exciting and successful in its own right.
“I truly loved every second that was spent with my team this year,” Bauer said.