Lady Miners are confident |

Lady Miners are confident

Dan BurkhartFans celebrate the sectional championship victory by NU volleyball team on Saturday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

If the Nevada Union girls volleyball team is nervous before its NorCal State Championships first round match with unseeded Analy (Sebastopol) at home today, it doesn’t show.

The fourth-seeded Lady Miners (28-2 overall), who topped perennial Sac-Joaquin Section power St. Mary’s (Stockton) in three games to win its first-ever sectional crown on Nov. 16, looked as cool as the proverbial cucumber as they worked out in Ali Gymnasium Monday afternoon.

“There’s a little tension, but mostly we’re all pretty confident in ourselves and our teammates, which is the most important thing,” NU sophomore outside hitter and 2002 Metro Conference MVP Ali Daley said.

The winner of the NorCal championship – an eight-team, single elimination tournament – will meet its SoCal counterpart in the CIF State Championship at Cypress College at Cyprus on Dec. 7.

NU, which last made a trip to the NorCal tournament in 1984, will move from the cozy confines of the girls gym to the wide-open spaces of Ali Gym.

The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Analy (20-8), which won back-to-back North Coast Section titles in 1997-98 and again in 2000, entered this year’s NCS tournament as the second seed.

The Lady Tigers defeated unseeded Antioch in three games in the first round. They were pushed to four games by No. 3 Castro Valley in the semifinals before losing to top-seeded Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) in three.

“I know absolutely nothing about them, but if we show up and play the way we did against Davis (in the section semis) and St. Marys (Stockton) in the finals, I’m pretty sure we’ll get through just fine,” Daley said. “Because once we’re all on mentally, I don’t think there’s anyone who can stop us.”

NU head coach Bob Rogers said that while Analy’s strengths and weaknesses are a mystery, he’ll rely on the same game plan that got his girls here: serve tough, play strong defense, then attack the net with big guns Daley, fellow outside hitter Erin Zajac, and middle hitter Elena Schmidt.

“It’s nice to know a little bit about your opposition, but on the other hand it’s mostly about what we do on our side of the net,” he said. “If we can receive their serve better than they can ours, I think that will be the difference. That’s usually what the difference is in a lot of volleyball matches. So I think if we play the way we have all season, we’ll be in good shape.”


WHAT: NorCal State Girls Division I Volleyball Championships, first round

WHEN: No. 3 Nevada Union hosts unseeded Analy (Sebastopol).

WHERE: Ali Gymnasium

TIME: 7 p.m.

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