Photo by Theo Tate
The Granite City senior class includes (front row) Ashley-Mae Armbruster and Haley Jones; (back row) Ciara Tieman, Ariel Rayl and Andrea Valencia.
The Granite City Warriors volleyball team is going to be pretty busy for the first two weeks of the season.
“We play a lot of games in the first two weeks,” Granite City coach Ginger Harrison said. “We play 17 games in the first 14 days.”
In the Warriors’ first 14 days of the season, they will play four home matches, two road matches and two tournaments — the Alton Redbird Classic and the Granite City Fall Classic.
Despite the busy schedule, the Warriors are just excited that they’ll get to play some matches after practicing for three weeks.
“It doesn’t give us a lot of chances to correct many things, but it really builds a team bonding and growth and they work together on and off the court to figure out what else they need to do,” said Harrison, who is in her third season as Granite City coach. “It’s a hard run in the beginning, but it makes up and builds us up for the regional. That’s where we want to fight to get to.”
The Warriors start their season Sept. 3 with a road match against Highland. The Bulldogs have won 100 matches in the last five seasons, including a 24-8 mark last year.
“Highland is always tough,” Harrison said. “They’re big and tall and they’re always aggressive. They’re a great first match because that gives a chance to see where we are and things we need to work on. We go the next day and play in the Alton Tournament, so there’s not a lot of time to fix things.”
The Warriors return several players from last year’s 8-21 team, including five seniors — Ashley-Mae Armbruster, Haley Jones, Ariel Rayl, Ciara Tieman and Andrea Valencia.
“We’re all good friends and we have a good bond, so I hope that we’ll come together and play hard,” said Jones, one of the team’s setters. “I hope we have a good season.”
Harrison said she’s happy that Valencia is back for another year. She joined the 2014 team as a transfer student from Peru.
“Her English has gotten better and we’ve been able to communicate a little more with her,” Harrison said. “She was our all-around team player last year for our season, so I expect big things out of her. She has a nice serve and she’s kind of sneaky and unexpected. She’s a good player for us.”
Harrison said she hopes Tiemann has an injury-free 2015 season.
“She had an injury previously, so she wasn’t able to play most of last year,” Harrison said. “But she’s back this year. She’s a little more aggressive and is ready to finish her senior year really strong.”
Juniors Megan Burge, Ciara Yon, Skylar Dippel and sophomores Morgan Tanksley and Danyai Garrett round out the varsity team.
Harrison has two new assistant coaches — her husband, Chris, and Ashley Deckard, who helped the Granite City girls’ soccer team win the state championship in 2011. Ian Veizer returns for another season as assistant coach.
TEAM: Granite City Warriors
HEAD COACH: Ginger Harrison
2014 RECORD: 8-21
CAREER RECORD: 2 years, 14-39
LAST PLAYOFF: 2014 Class 4A Regional quarterfinals
NAME HT POS
Ashley-Mae Armbruster 5-8 OH
Haley Jones 5-6 S
Ariel Rayl 5-6 OH
Ciara Tieman 5-9 MB
Andrea Valencia 5-6 OH
Megan Burge 5-7 S
Skylar Dippel 5-10 OH
Ciara Yon 5-6 Libero
Danyal Garrett 5-7 OH
Morgan Tanksley 5-11 MB
Sept. 3, 6:15 p.m. at Highland
Sept. 4, 4 p.m. at Alton Redbird Classic
Sept. 5, 9 a.m. at Alton Redbird Classic
Sept. 8, 6:30 p.m. vs. Civic Memorial
Sept. 9, 6 p.m. vs. Metro East Lutheran
Sept. 10, 6 p.m. vs. Collinsville*
Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m. vs. Gibault
Sept. 17, 6 p.m. at Edwardsville*
Sept. 19, 9 a.m. vs. Granite City Fall Classic
Sept. 23, 6 p.m. at O'Fallon*
Sept. 24, 6 p.m. at Belleville West*
Sept. 28, 6 p.m. at Triad
Sept. 30, 6 p.m. at Cahokia
Oct. 1, 6 p.m. vs. East St. Louis*
Oct. 6, 6 p.m. at Alton*
Oct. 7, 6 p.m. vs. Dupo
Oct. 10, 9 a.m. at Red Bud Tournament
Oct. 12, 6 p.m. vs. North County Tech
Oct. 15, 4:30 p.m. at Belleville East*
Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m. vs. Madison