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PIAA VOLLEYBALL: Glasgow made triumphant return for special senior year at Blue Ridge

Aiden Glasgow wouldn't let anything stand in his way.

At the start of this school year, Blue Ridge's All-Region three-year starter for the championship boys volleyball team suffered a devastating ACL tear as he prepared for soccer season. It required surgery and a lengthy recovery.

He worked, stayed patient and refused to give up.

He wanted to experience another memorable season with his close friends and teammates on the court, not from the sidelines. When the first day of spring practice arrived, Glasgow received the all clear, and made the most of his opportunity.

This spring, Glasgow was one of the main cogs for the Raiders, who won their third straight District 2 Class 2A championship. They are into the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals again and face District 3 champion Exeter Twp. on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Wilkes University.

"Honestly, we never thought when we started playing four years ago that we would be here at this level," Glasgow said. "We all just thought that we would try something new. We all got hooked on the sport by playing every weekend, and we are proud of what we have achieved with this group of guys that we have grown up with.

"As soon as I got the go-ahead to play, I got right to work. I never think about it, because if you play with nervousness or more anxiety, it hurts you. I tucked it away in the back of my mind and said, 'Whatever happens, happens,' and I live in the present."

Since he joined the team with his other seniors, Connor Cranage, Carson Gallagher, Nick Laude, Morgan Thomas and Nate Garrehy, Glasgow developed into one of the top players in the Lackawanna League and District 2.

He took on the responsibility of playing libero, a unique position that specializes in defense, created in 1998.

"During my freshman year with COVID, I got quarantined and had to practice and play by myself," Glasgow said. "After that season, I spent the following summer learning how to dig and pass so I could play libero. I love it. It is so great when you dig out a hard hit, and it is the best feeling when you do that and make a pass and get something going on offense from it."

While Blue Ridge's hitters receive much of the attention, Glasgow is a catalyst in many ways.

As a sophomore, he had 243 digs and 147 service points, and last season he earned All-Region honors with 190 digs, 193 service points and 36 aces.

His expectations for this season were exceptionally high after the Raiders had a 22-1 season in 2023.

This season, in addition to his 160 digs, Glasgow leads the team with 370 service points and 57 aces. He recorded a season-high 32 service points in matches against Valley View and Elk Lake during the season and had 22 in Tuesday's win over Academy at Palumbo in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.

This postseason, he has 56 service points, giving him 710 for his career to go along with his 593 digs.

"I spent Fridays and Saturdays working on my passing and serving during two-hour sessions at Riverfront with Chris Summa," Glasgow said. "He really helped me get my float serve down. But then I tore my ACL, and that limited me. I was just serving and focusing on my mechanics and getting the reps in, and it has helped me a lot."

All of those achievements, including a team record of 42-2 in the last two seasons, mean a great deal to Glasgow.

But his greatest reward came on a recent visit to New Milford, when members of the community recognized him and congratulated him and the team for all that they had accomplished.

"Our community is super supportive," said Glasgow, 18, who will continue his volleyball career at King's College. "I always see the posts on Facebook and all the comments congratulating us. It's crazy. But when I got stopped by three people when I had to go into town for some errands, it was the best thing ever.

"Gold medals are nice, but having the fans cheering you on and showing that kind of support is amazing and really what all of this is truly about."

Blue Ridge, again, faces a daunting challenge in the state playoffs.

In 2022 and 2023, the Raiders were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Lower Dauphin, the eventual state champion. This season, Exeter Twp., the No. 1 team in the state and the No. 10 team in the country as ranked by USA Today, is the opponent.

"The biggest thing that we didn't have against Lower Dauphin was confidence," Glasgow said. "We are going to play our game. Exeter has a really good right-side hitter (Gaige Gabriel) and a really great team. This will be a challenge. It is going to take us coming together, playing as a unit, and also having fun."