Gleaves, Bergman dominated the nets
Stars and Stripes November 29, 2010
CAMP GEORGE, South Korea – Wherever senior spikers Liz Gleaves and Kristina Bergman would be this year, historic Pacific high school girls volleyball firsts weren’t too far away:
Gleaves and Seoul American won their first Far East Division I Tournament title, sending out 31-year coach Denny Hilgar with his first and only championship. Gleaves became the first player in school history to be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Bergman and Daegu American captured their second straight Division II Tournament championship, giving DODDS-Pacific four straight winners in the event. Bergman became the first DODDS-Pacific player to be named MVP of a Far East volleyball tournament two straight years and All-Far East for four straight.
For their work and their achievments, Gleaves and Bergman will share Stars and Stripes’ first Pacific high school girls volleyball Players of the Year award.
“She’s just been a pleasure to have,” Hilgar said. “She’s every coach’s dream player. Hard worker, likes to get in there and roll around. Very athletic, enjoys that type of competitiveness. Any coach would look at her and go, ‘Oh, what I could do if I had her on my team.’”
At just 5-foot-5 but with a 38-inch vertical leap, Gleaves recorded 255 spike kills in 577 attempts, 36 block points and 163 defensive digs in 73 total sets.
Her Falcons went 13-1, good for second place in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I regular season. They went 3-0 to capture the KAIAC tournament title, then made their second Far East Division I title-match appearance, beating Faith Academy 25-20, 25-15, 25-27, 12-25, 15-4.
“Liz has always been great,” Nile C. Kinnick coach Al Garrido said, “but this past year, she stepped over the line from greatness to legendary. She put herself on a mission and took care of business.”
Bergman averaged 12.1 spike kills, 3.4 block points and 9.3 defensive digs for a Warriors crew that won the Division II tournament title for the third time in five years.
Daegu went 14-0 in KAIAC Division I and 19-4 in the regular season, took second in the KAIAC tournament, then went unbeaten in the Division II tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, beating Morrison Christian Academy for the second straight final 25-21, 28-26, 20-25, 25-23.
Hilgar said Bergman’s emergence as a star has been a growing process.
“When she first stepped out on the court, she was very unsure of herself,” he said. “(She) had to learn to grow into (her) body and she’s done an excellent job with that. She’s the kind who realizes … that she has to put the team on her back and she’s developed as a leader on the court.”
“She has matured, and as the program has matured, so has Kristina,” Daegu coach Joanna Wyche said. “When the wheels clicked into place, it changed her into accepting and desiring to do things and I think it started with her belief that she could do things.”