Rachel Klopfer was Green Valley’s clear leader on the court Thursday, but coach Erin Hill was the star of the sidelines.
Klopfer had 17 kills, 14 digs and two aces, and Hill had two effective timeout calls to help the Gators defeat Foothill 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14 in the Sunrise Region girls volleyball tournament semifinals at Coronado.
The win lifted the Gators into Saturday’s 5 p.m. title match, where they will play Silverado for the championship.
Klopfer had six kills in the opening set, which the Falcons controlled early. But with her team trailing 8-3, Hill called a timeout and momentum turned in a hurry.
“We just talked about how long we’ve been working on this,” Hill said. “All the training, all the hours in the weight room and over the summer.”
With Anya Olsen serving, Green Valley (26-7) scored five straight points to get back in it, finally winning the close set when the Falcons misplayed the final point.
The second set was much of the same, as Foothill (17-19) jumped to a 10-4 lead before another pivotal Gators timeout. Green Valley rattled off four consecutive points before tying the score at 14, eventually winning the set when Foothill again misplayed the final point.
Hill said her team’s execution of the fundamentals made the difference.
“It was a solid overall performance,” she said. “We served well and we played good defense.”
The third set broke the pattern, as Foothill surged ahead late, thanks in part to several untimely Green Valley errors. Shaye Lemke’s kill gave the set to the Falcons, who had regained momentum heading into the fourth.
But Green Valley wasted no time in taking control in the final set, capping a 10-1 run with an Emily Flowers service ace that gave the Gators an 18-9 lead. Green Valley used a balanced attack the rest of the way, winning it when Foothill’s final shot sailed long.
Hill credited Klopfer for keeping her team poised.
“She came to life and took over about half way through the first set,” Hill said. “Rachel is our go-to person.”
Anya Olsen finished with 19 digs, 11 kills and three aces to help the Gators, and Abby Olsen added 35 assists and 10 kills.
Whitley Brow led Foothill with 20 digs, 16 kills and four blocks.
Silverado 3, Coronado 1 — At Coronado, the Skyhawks survived a marathon third-set loss to defeat the Cougars, 27-25, 25-21, 28-30, 25-15.
Sydney Berenyi had 25 kills to lead Silverado, which had set point at 24-23 in the third before succumbing to a Coronado rally.
The Skyhawks (29-7) broke open a close fourth set late, using a 6-0 scoring spurt to go ahead, 20-13. Mariah Morris, who finished with eight kills and a block, logged the match-winning point. MacKenzie Carter added 21 kills and an ace to help Silverado.
Madison Karcich had 15 kills to lead Coronado (14-17).