By Andrew Luberda
Copper Basin News
The 10th seeded Ray girls’ volleyball team lost its first-round state tournament match to seventh-seeded Joy Christian last Friday, 3 – 0. The state tournament was played at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott, AZ. Top-seeded St. David defeated sixth-seeded, and Section IV champion, St. Johns for the state title.
The ‘Cats finished 21-11-1 on the season, including 9-2 in their section, which was good enough for second place in their section and an automatic bid to the state tournament.
Head coach Rikki Galka along with assistant coaches Brad Richards and Tanya Reidhead helped the players on the team improve from week to week. In an interview during the season, Coach Galka told the Copper Basin News she saw results from the team’s hard work. “When the team is focused on playing together we are able to achieve a high level of success,” Galka said at the time.
The players’ commitment to improve was an important factor in them reaching the state tournament.
The ‘Cats will lose three seniors off this year’s state qualifying team. Alicia Romero, Lucy Sainz, and Mariah Denny are the seniors who will be graduating in the spring. The ‘Cats could have up to nine players return with varsity experience next season. Freshman Gabbi Montano, sophomores Stormee Galka and Sarah Duncklee, and juniors Sabrina Martinez, Brandy Schneider, Sidney Chenoweth, Adriana Lopez, Gabby Juvera, and Elissa Rodriguez are all expected to return.
The experience of this season should provide optimism for next year, including a deep run in the state tournament.