Galena spiker set for state |

Galena spiker set for state

After losing seven key players from last year’s NIAA 4A State championship team, the Galena High volleyball team could have been considered somewhat of a long shot to defend its crown.

But it was anything but a rebuilding year at Galena. The Grizzlies had the one-two punch of Julia and Lydia Mailander and reloaded. As a result, Galena won the Northern 4A title last weekend to earn a trip back to the state tournament.

Galena will play in the state semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday when in plays Coronado at Canyon Springs High in Las Vegas. The winner will the winner between Bishop Gorman and Silverado on Saturday for the state title.

Coronado is the Sunrise section champion while Bishop Gorman is the Sunset champion. Silverado finished second to Coronadoin the Sunrise section.

In tournament action early in the year, Galena split with Bishop Gorman and beat Silverado. Galena coach Teresa Burrows said the early season results shouldn’t play much of a role in what happens this weekend.

“At the end of the season they’re playing their best volleyball,” said Burrows about the teams who have made it to the semifinals.

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“It’s going to be who has the momentum at the end of the match and who’s making the least mistakes. It will be a battle.”

But Burrows has confidence in her club. “I think if we play as well as we did last weekend we’ll be OK. We’ll have to cut down on a few mistakes. We’ll see. Right now I think they’re playing their best volleyball.”

Galena has three players who advanced to the state semifinals two years ago in Las Vegas in the Mailanders and Nancy Burrows. The Mailanders, Galena’s two powerful outside hitters, have played in the state tournament all four years. “Everybody’s happy to see them graduate,” coach Burrows said.

The Grizzlies lost in the state semifinals in Las Vegas two years ago. “The experience is going to help and they’re three of our key players,” said coach Burrows about the three players who went to state two years ago.

Galena has just three seniors in the Mailanders and defensive specialist Margot Ward, who coach Burrows said has had an “awesome year. She’s probably been the most consistent as far as serving.”

Coach Burrows admitted she didn’t know what to expect from this year’s team, which had seven new players, but still had confidence that the group would perform.

“There were some unknowns,” she said. “It was just a matter if the new seven would mesh and they did. It was all good.”

Sophomore Thalia McCann has set the attack. “She’s obviously just going to get better and better,” coach Burrows said. “It helps that we pass well to make her job a little easier. She’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

Burrows is a middle blocker and is joined in the middle by Amy Scott, who coach Burrows said played her best volleyball last weekend. Freshman Emily Aguiar adds depth in the middle.

Opposite side hitters are sophomore Johanna Dibble and freshman Casey Burke and other defensive specialists are Alexa Garol and Madison Hardy, who has been “quite the sparkplug for us,” coach Burrows said. There’s also freshman outside hitter Brooke Keever.

“It’s going to be tough,” said coach Burrows about state. “Hopefully we’ll play well and it if we do, then we’ll be fine.”