Spanish Springs volleyball coach Frank Sandomenico was so excited after beating Bishop Gorman to advance to the Division I state final that he might have pulled an abdominal muscle while celebrating.
Sandomenico fell and did a somersault while after a come-from-behind, fifth-set victory in the Galena High School gym Friday.
Spanish Springs fans were just as enthusiastic, erupting with cheers and waving purple towels after the team's state-high 38th win of the season that put them in the final 4 p.m. today against Green Valley.
"We thrive on that crowd noise and excitement during our games, and our fans were amazing," Sandomenico said.
The Cougars' faithful stuck behind their team despite it squandering a two-set lead. The Cougars won, 25-18, 25-21, 12-25, 19-25, 17-15.
The Gaels then took an 8-4 lead in the deciding set, but that wasn't enough cushion to keep the Cougars at bay.
Spanish Springs was ready to hit the panic button, but a quick pep talk from coaches cured them and motivated a rally to win 17-15.
"We're a loose team, loose at practice and loose at games, because it's all about having fun, so we don't change anything if things get tight," Sandomenico said. "We just keep having fun, and we tried to tell the girls, 'You know with Hurricane Sandy, that's really pressure -- losing your house and power is real-world pressure -- but we're out here just trying to have fun.'"
Senior setter/hitter tandem Lyndsey Anderson and Melissa Munley catapulted the Cougars to success, as Anderson assisted 41 points and Munley notched 25 kills.
"Melissa and Lyndsey have been playing varsity for four years so we really count on those two a lot, and they just stepped up," Sandomenico said.
Munley also had 10 digs, while Anderson added four digs and two aces.
"I think it's a great that we we're able to keep it together because we've worked hard this season to get here," Munley said. "We've been together the last three or four years and that helped us out, but we have to let this one go tonight and come ready to play tomorrow."
GREEN VALLEY d. BISHOP MANOGUE at Galena: Green Valley nearly mirrored Spanish Springs, going ahead by two sets then dropping two sets before eventually sealing a fifth-set victory against Bishop Manogue for a final total of 25-11, 25-18, 22-25, 23-25 and 15-10, to advance to the state final.
"First of all, Manogue is a phenomenal team, but I think we're both a little out of gas," Green Valley coach Erin Hill said.
"We're looking forward to playing Spanish Springs in the final because they're a great team that has excellent ball control and makes few unforced errors, so it will make for an excellent match."