The Galt Warriors took to the court on Oct. 28 to do something the program hadn’t done in years – play in a Sac-Joaquin Section postseason game.
The Warriors hosted Bret Harte for a Div. IV play-in game in which the winner would advance to the first round of the SJS playoffs; the Warriors were seeded 16th while Bret Harte was 17th.
While the Warriors were strong in every set, Bret Harte rallied often and came out with the 3-0 win at Warrior Gym.
Bret Harte went on to face number one seed Ripon on Oct. 29.
In addition to reaching the postseason for the first time in over 15 years, the Warriors’ season ended with another feat; they equaled both their Sierra Valley Conference and overall win totals from two years ago, after struggling last year with a 2-14, 0-10 record.
The Warriors clinched the postseason when they defeated Rosemont on Oct. 21 3-2 on senior night.
Their previous two league wins had been against Bradshaw Christian (Sept. 30 and Oct. 16).
After their final regular season practice, Warrior coach Grace Celli surprised her players with the playoff news, she said.
“Based on the current records and where we stood, I kind of knew we were going to do it. I didn’t tell them that until the next day when they thought it was their last practice. They cried a little bit as well as I did. I’m very happy that they did it. I’m proud of them,” Celli said of qualifying for the play-in game.
The Warriors scored consistently in the first set against Bret Harte, who had taken the lead early in the set.
At one point, they came within 18-14 of Bret Harte. After a few unforced errors, however, the Warriors were outplayed by Bret Harte and lost 25-17.
The Warriors looked energetic in the second set and had a slim lead thanks to heroic plays that saw the Warriors diving to keep the ball alive.
Bret Harte tied the score at 13-13, however, then took a 14-13 lead and didn’t trail after that point, eventually winning 25-16.
Despite the Warriors leading in the third set as well, Bret Harte took the lead and advanced to the first round of the playoffs with its 25-11 win.
Celli, a Liberty Ranch alum who played volleyball with the Hawks, said that in her first year of coaching, she was grateful for her first year with the Warriors.
“It’s been an extremely positive year. It’s a hard year of work; they worked their butts off so I’m very proud of them for that. I thank them almost every day for trusting me and giving me everything. They put their complete trust in me and something worked so we’re here,” Celli said.
This year marked just the fourth time in the last 15 years that the Warriors have had three or more league wins.
The credit goes to the team, Celli said.
“A hundred and 10 percent it’s them. They’re the ones who show up every day, they’re the ones who work hard. Your girls can make or break a team,” Celli said.
The Warriors will have six athletes available to return next year, including one freshman, three juniors and two sophomores and with the success of this year, the team is making opponents take notice.
“We’re not anything to brush aside anymore I feel like. I don’t like that. I hold them to a standard and they know that so the program moving forward, I’d like them to know they’re held to a higher standard and they’re capable of that.”