Galion bounced back from its toughest week of the regular season with a victory over Fairbanks in Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference volleyball action on Tuesday. The Tigers swept the Panthers, 25-15, 25-17, 25-19, on a night that the team designated as its Volley for the Cure match to raise funds for breast cancer research.
“We came off of a rough week, so it was good to kind of get back on track,” said Galion head coach Jaime Valentine. “I preached to them (Monday) night about how I feel like they are just satisfied right now and they haven’t given anything extra. There’s still more out there to give and I’m still waiting for some of them to step up. Some of them did tonight, and I was very happy about that. I’ve been waiting for some of those kids to play like that for a long time.”
Galion (12-6, 8-3 MOAC) faced three of the top programs in Ohio last week as the Tigers played four matches in six days. Edison, Jonathan Alder and Buckeye Central are all ranked in their respective divisions by the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association. Galion dropped all three matches to the ranked sides. Despite the setbacks, Valentine said she urged her squad to press on and play up to their potential, especially with the postseason looming in the near future.
“I told them not to be satisfied with being decent; we have to finish,” Valentine said. “We have to piggy back off some momentum to head into the tournament. Hopefully, that’s what we do.”
The Tigers took advantage of the momentum of big runs in each set to earn the sweep of Fairbanks. With the first set tied at three, Galion went on a 15-5 surge to build an insurmountable lead. The Tigers trailed 4-0 in the second set, but pieced together a 15-5 run to take control. Fairbanks kept the third set close, staying within four points, until the Tigers went on a 4-0 run that gave them the cushion they needed to pick up the win and end the match.
Taylor Valentine led Galion with 14 kills and also had 15 digs. Marisa Gwinner tallied 13 kills and a team-best six blocks.
Gabby Abouhassan and Chloe McCleese each had six kills. Abouhassan finished with four blocks and McCleese added two blocks. Kiki Staton had three kills.
Bradlee Saterfield finished with 38 assists, 11 digs and two kills. Ashley Flowers led Galion with 17 digs. Dusty Thomas had 11 digs.
Galion made just two ball handling errors and four serve receive errors. The Tigers were also solid from serving line, committing only two errors.
Statistics for Fairbanks (10-8, 5-6 MOAC) were not available.
Fairbanks won the junior varsity and freshman matches on Tuesday.
Galion will be back in action Thursday when Marion Harding visits the GHS gym. The Tigers defeated the Prexies in five sets on Sept. 15 at Marion.
Harding (5-13, 3-8 MOAC) lost to Red Division leader Jonathan Alder (18-0, 11-0 MOAC) in three sets on Tuesday. Alder has not lost a set in MOAC play this season and has only dropped two sets in 2015.
Fairbanks will play host to North Union on Thursday.
Postseason just ahead
The sectional tournament draw is scheduled for Oct. 11. Galion is playing in the Div. III tournament this season for the first time after having spent the past several years in Div. II.
“It’ll be interesting with us being new to the (Div. III) pool to see where the other coaches place us,” Valentine said. “Last week kind of hurt us a little bit, so we’ll see where we end up.”
Galion will play in the Seneca East sectional, which includes three programs ranked in the OHSVCA top 20. Huron is ranked eighth this week. Edison is the No. 12 team in Div. III and Eastwood is ranked 13th.
The rest of the sectional features Bucyrus, Colonel Crawford, Ashland Crestview, Fostoria, Gibsonburg, Margaretta, Mohawk, Western Reserve, Willard and Wynford.
Reach Carter at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048.