Lady Miners spike Analy |

Lady Miners spike Analy

The Nevada Union girls volleyball team made sure the home crowd got their money’s worth in its CIF NorCal State Championship Division I first-round showdown with unseeded Analy (Sebastopol) Tuesday.

The No. 4 Lady Miners rolled in the first two games, but had to battle through eight match points in game three to win the first-ever NorCal girls volleyball match in school history, 15-8, 15-10, 16-14 at Ali Gymnasium.

“Having such a large, loud crowd was something we had to get used to. And they really picked it up at match point,” said NU junior middle Elena Schmidt. “I think the problem was we got a little ahead of ourselves. We have to (stay focused). We can’t let down.”

Schmidt finished with 10 kills.

NU (29-2) will face the winner of the top-seeded St. Francis (Mountain View) and unseeded Oakland Technical in the semifinals 7 p.m. Saturday.

The team with the higher seed will host.

Lady Miner head coach Bob Rogers said St.Francis, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and tops in the country by a national high school sports organization, shouldn’t have had any trouble advancing to the next round.

“It’s going to be St.Francis, for sure. They’re the best team around,” he said.

NU, which beat St.Mary’s (Stockton) in three to win the Sac Joaquin Section title Nov. 16, took advantage of a gaggle of Lady Tiger (20-9) unforced errors and tough serving from Schmidt and Meredith Ely to build an 8-3 lead to open game three.

Analy, the North Coast Section runner-up, cut the lead to one point thanks to some tough serving of their own.

“I thought both teams served really well. It was hard to pass a lot of their serves,” Rogers said. “I thought the jump serve of (Analy’s Sandy Krone) was very good to and (Danielle Gardner) also hurt us. We passed enough of them, but I was hoping we’d pass a few more.”

The Lady Miners then outscored the visitors 6-2 down the stretch to lead 14-9.

Analy’s defense dug in and forced eight side outs before NU sophomore outside hitter Ali Daley sent the hosts into the semifinals with a deep kill from the left side.

“In that situation, I pretty much know that shot’s always open,” she said. “At first I was thinking of going for a kill (inside the ten foot line), but in those type of situations, you have to play smart, so that’s why I went deep.”

Daley finaihed with team-highs in kills (13), stuff blocks (4) to go along with three aces and 12 digs.

Amanda Benson finished with a team-high 15 digs with no passing or serving errors in the win.

Erin Zajac chipped in seven kills. Nicole Maves and Jenny Goodwin had a pair of kills each. Maves also totaled three stuff blocks.

Ely, NU’s junior setter, tallied 33 assists along with five aces.

“Meredith did an absolutely great job of of setting the game we called. Especially for someone who’s only been a setter for a month,” NU assistant coach Larry Peterson said.

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