The TVRA South East senior girls volleyball Tier 2 standings told the story.
"We moved ourselves from sixth place to fourth place, which was really good for us," said Glendale HS Gemini senior girls coach Raelene Stockmans after Glendale won two of three matches in Tillsonburg last Tuesday.
Glendale played three teams, three sets each, in a new TVRA tier format. The Gemini defeated St. Thomas Arthur Voaden 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-14), lost 2-1 to Dorchester (25-12, 25-18, 20-25), and defeated Glencoe 2-1 (25-17, 25-12, 21-25).
"We won six sets, so we got six out of nine points," said Stockmans. "And I think it was two points in the online standings..."
Final TVRA South East Tier 2 standings had the Gemini (2-3) fourth behind division leading Dorchester (4-1), Central Elgin (4-1), and College Avenue (3-2).
Preliminary round playoffs started Thursday, Feb. 6, with Glendale at Dorchester, a team that had swept Tillsonburg 3-0 back in December. Tuesday's three-set match against Dorchester was decided by a 25-20 tie-breaker.
"I think we're finally catching up and it's nice to see. We're not top of the league, but our girls are figthing for it now, they're 'getting it,' and they're more consistent.
"I think they (Dorchester) were in the same boat this year – they lost a lot of strong players to graduation and they lost that whole year of development last year. They're really building.
"It's fourth vs first in our tier, then a cross-over. If we win (Thursday), we'll probably play IDCI or WCI on the other side."
Dorchester prevailed Thursday 3-0, winning 25-15, 25-18, 25-9, while Central Elgin defeated College Avenue in the preliminary round. Quarter-finals were scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 11 with Central Elgin at Ingersoll, Parkside at Woodstock Collegiate, East Elgin at Huron Park ad Dorchester at West Elgin.
How far they went in playoffs, said Stockmans, was less important than how much they improved over the season.
"The whole point is that our offence and our defence, both, have improved. I would say equally. Our passes are much better on serve reception, which allow us to set up an attack. They are certainly more consistent and we can rally out the free ball a lot better than we were.
"They have worked hard to improve their serves and overall, consistently, we served better than we have been serving."
With better basic skills, she said the senior Gemini started playing cleaner volleyball.
"Our defence, sometimes, is not consistent but we are getting there."
The senior Gemini entered three tournaments this season, one per month, from December to early February.
"It gives the kids just that much more court time," said Stockmans. "With our regular practice schedule and the extra tournaments, I think it really helped. The girls were very keen, very coachable. I think we've come a long way.
"We started winning sets at tournaments and even though it doesn't count toward the league, it does make your team feel better. So as soon as they start winning sets it boosts their confidence, carries into the next practice and carries into the next game. It's all building."