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Prep Volleyball: Golden Valley facing Buhach Colony clone

Matt Thissen hasn't seen the Napa volleyball team play this year.

As it turns out, he didn't need to.

The scouting report the Golden Valley coach received makes him believe his team has already faced a Napa clone a couple times this season.

"I hear (Napa) is really good on defense," Thissen said. "I'm seeing a little Buhach Colony.

"They're really good on defense. They have one big outside hitter. They're not terribly tall. They have aggressive servers."

No. 3 Golden Valley (17-2) will travel to face No. 2 Napa (24-2) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals tonight at 7 p.m.

The winner advances to UC Davis on Thursday for the section championship against the winner of tonight's other semifinal matchup between No. 1 Nevada Union and No. 5 Modesto.

"Our goal every year is to play at Davis," Thissen said. "We've made it three times and we're striving for No. 4.

"It's a great volleyball experience."

Golden Valley (17-2) vs Napa (24-2)

TIME: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Napa High

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Tonight's winner advances to Thursday's section title match at UC Davis. Golden Valley has reached the finals twice, but has never won a volleyball section title.GV is one of three area teams still alive.

In Division IV, No. 5 Hilmar travels to No. 1 Ripon in a semifinal matchup at 7 p.m.

In the Central Section, No. 4 Chowchilla visits No. 1 Bakersfield Christian in the Division IV semifinals. The match is also at 7 p.m.

Golden Valley will have to deal with Kaylie Martin -- Napa's version of Buhach star Megan Callahan.

"We have to try to limit the shots she gets and hope no one else steps up," Thissen said.

"They key for us all season has been to get a big block up front and control the ball.

"If we can do those two things, we'll be able to hit."

Golden Valley will counter Martin with its stable of hitters.

Katelyn Bennett, Celeste Castillo, Reina Sykes, Gina Bandoni and Kaitlin Davidson have all proved to be reliable options throughout the year for setter Ali Hague.

GV's biggest problem has been getting off to slow starts in the first two rounds of the playoffs against Stockton Edison and Stockton Lincoln.

"Obviously, I haven't figured that out yet," Thissen said. "We need somebody to step up and make a big play early so we get into it quicker."