Gilbert hosts Chesnee Thursday in the Upper State championship for the right to move on to Saturday’s Class 2A state finals session at White Knoll.
The Indians advanced to the fourth round of postseason play for the second year in a row thanks to a tough third-round win over former region rival Keenan. Jackie Shealy’s veteran team takes on essentially the same Chesnee squad it dispatched in the second round last season.
“Chesnee is a mentally tough team with good serving and good passing skills,” said Shealy. “We’re at the point now where we have to be ready to play our best if we want to keep going. Hopefully we know that from experience.”
Surprisingly, the Indians have had their share of mental struggles this season.
“We’ve been inconsistent at times, but we had a good all around performance against Keenan,” said Shealy. “We showed some real mental toughness in a hard match against a strong hitting team. It's been an interesting year because this team has a different chemistry even though most of the players are back from last year.”
The Indians veteran cast features senior middle hitter Sarah Eargle, senior setter Courtney Frye and Whitney Strother, who has evolved into a fine all around player after being a front row specialist as a freshman last season.