Appearing in the state volleyball tournament for the first time in 29 years, the Nashville Hornets came up on the wrong side of a history making performance Friday at Redbird Arena.
Galena senior Drew Wasson started the second game with an eight point service run and teammate Samantha Stoffregen added a nine point run later as the Pirates cruised to a 25-14, 25-2 win over Nashville in a Class 2A State Tournament semifinal.
The two points recorded by the Hornets are the fewest recorded by one team at the state tournament since the IHSA adapted the four class 25-point system in 2007. The previous low mark was held by LaSalle Peru which lost the 2013 Class 3A state title match to Wheaton St Francis 25-19, 25-7.
“That has happened a few times this year where we start slow in match and we have trouble getting things together on the court,’’ Galena senior Morgan Wills said. “But once we get the momentum, we usually don’t give it up. That was the case today,’’
Making its first state tournament appearance, Galena (36-5) advances to the Class 2A state title match on Saturday at 1;45 p.m. where it will take on Pleasant Plains. The Cardinals defeated Champaign St. Thomas More 25-22, 15-25, 26-24 in the first semi-final.
Nashville (32-9) will take on St. Thomas More in the third place match at 12:15 p.m.
It was the Hornets who started quickly in game one. After a block by Nashville senior Bailey Melton tied the game at 1, Hornets setter Sydney Schnitker served four straight points and when Galena was called for a violation, Nashville had a 6-1 lead.
“First time at the state tournament, we were nervous.. Heck, I was nervous,’’ Pirates coach Dennis Wills said. “I called timeout and we settled down. We started running our offense instead of just running.’’
The Pirates gradually got back into the match. When Morgan Wills drilled a winning spike up the sideline, Galena had a 14-13 lead. The Pirates would not trail again.
Wills, the team leader in kills (337) and digs (400), went on a nine point service run to give Galena a 22-13 lead. The senior all-stater had four clean aces during the run. When Sami Wasmund fired a kill down the middle minutes later, the Pirates had the first game.
A short time later, the Pirates were in the final.
“We got off to a good start but the biggest problem for us today was our ball control,’’ Nashville coach Josh Konkel said. “They got off to a nice service run and when we got a good set and had a chance to get a kill, we didn’t execute.
“They had some nice kills and we just had a hard time recovering from that service run in game one. It’s disappointing. But there are a whole bunch of teams in the state who wish they were here. I’m proud of this team.’’