The No. 1 seed is expected to beat the No. 4 seed in the postseason. And in Tuesday’s 4A North volleyball quarterfinal, that’s exactly what Spanish Springs did.
The High Desert League champion Cougars (32-7) moved past Galena (14-16) in straight sets at home 25-11, 25-21, 25-17 to earn a spot in the regional semifinals.
“We didn’t put any pressure on ourselves, but when you’re the No. 1 seed, you have to win the opening round. And we did,” Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said.
Senior outside hitter Emily Moore played one her best games in a Spanish Springs uniform, in her last game in the Spanish Springs gym.
She led everyone with 20 kills – a massive number for a match that went just three sets.
“She (Moore just took over,” Sandomenico said. “We always try to get everyone involved, and we did, we had a few kills out of our right side, and some from our middles. But, Mackenzie (O’Connell) had to keep setting her. Someone’s scoring for you, you have to keep (going to her).”
Ireland Bennett and Gracie Fuller both contributed six kills behind Moore’s monster night.
The Cougars started the postseason match ripping off 10 straight points with O’Connell at the service stripe. Galena never recovered.
“We just looked good. We looked good in warmups, just ready to play,” Sandomenico said. “We’re the No. 1 seed and we played like it tonight.”
The second set was not nearly as comfortable for the hosts. Galena actually held a 16-12 lead before the Cougars rattled off nine consecutive points to take a 19-16 lead and going on to win 25-21.
Kirstin Bennett sparked the rally with a pancake dig that led to a Moore blast from the back row.
Spanish Springs held a 10-8 advantage in the third set then scored 11 of the next 13 to break it open.
O’Connell dished out 35 assists and had six aces, six digs and three kills. Kennedey Stroshine led the Cougs with 10 digs. Olivia Galletti had seven.
Ali French put down a team-high 12 kills for the Grizzlies.
The Cougars now prepare for a 4A North semifinal match against Douglas, the Sierra League No. 2 seed, on Thursday night at Galena. A win would secure a state tournament berth to go along with a spot in the 4A North title game against the Bishop Manogue-Reno winner.
Spanish Springs handled Douglas in three sets, at home, in the lone previous contest between the two squads in September.
“So it’s real simple,” Sandomenico said. “Our goal was to win league. We did that. Then we set one more goal, win tonight. We got one goal. Win Thursday night. That’s it.”
Reed swept at Bishop Manogue
The fourth-seeded Raiders were not able to muster an upset bid at undefeated Bishop Manogue in Tuesday’s 4A North quarterfinal.
The Raiders were dropped in straight sets by the Sierra League champs 25-14, 25-12, 25-11.
Reed finished the season 6-17 in the first under the direction of new coach Amy Morris.
The Miners moved onto the semifinals, where they will play Reno on Thursday night at Galena.