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Maroon Tide cruises to MED championship

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Galax entered the regionals as the No. 1 seed after knocking off Grayson County and Narrows.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 With the VHSL splitting volleyball championships into division beginning this year, Galax has had its eye on the school’s first state tournament berth for quite a while.

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The Mountain Empire District tournament only served as a means for the Maroon Tide to pick up steam.

Galax entered the Region C Division 1 tournament as the No. 1 seed after breezing to the MED tournament championship with a pair of wins Saturday at GHS.

The Maroon Tide (21-2) opens region tournament play today at Eastern Montgomery High School with a 6 p.m. semifinal meeting with either Narrows or Craig County.

Narrows was Galax’s latest conquest as the Tide took a 25-21, 25-18, 25-13 win in Saturday’s title match.

“We played well all day,” said Tide coach Rose Houk, who was named the MED’s coach of the year following the championship match. “Many different players made significant contributions. We started clicking and got into a rhythm, and we played with a lot of heart and hustle. We really worked together as a team today.”

Galax found itself deadlocked at 20 with the Green Wave in the first set before Kem Simmons put away a kill and Allison White added a block to give the Tide some separation. The final two points came on Narrows errors as Galax took a one-game lead.

The Green Wave (14-5) jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the second behind the net play of district player of the year Savannah Burton, but two Bailey Shumate aces ignited a Maroon Tide rally that saw Galax score 10 of the game’s next 13 points. Five straight hitting errors by Narrows put the Tide up 15-14 and Galax gradually pulled away.

Momentum carried over to the third set for the Tide, which went from a 10-10 tie to a 20-11 lead on the serve of Kaitlin Porter. White had two kills and Simmons smashed a winner off a Shumate dig before Narrows broke Porter’s serve.

Simmons led Galax with 10 kills while White provided eight kills, a dozen digs, four aces and three blocks. Shumate was good for six kills and 12 assists. Porter and Kelsey Reedy combined for 30 digs.

“We’re so excited about being the No. 1 seed, we’ve just got to stay focused and avoid mistakes,” Houk said.

Galax def. Grayson 3-0:The Maroon Tide reached the championship match with a 25-11, 25-13, 25-10 semifinal win over the Blue Devils earlier Saturday.

White put away 13 kills, Shumate had 10 assists and seven kills, Simmons had eight kills and Harley Brewer added four more.

Kristen Osborne had seven serving points and Grace Wilson put up eight assists.