EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — Maggie Furlong isn’t taking anything for granted this season.
In a world with the coronavirus, anything can happen. And in the midst of the pandemic this past January, Furlong tore the ACL and meniscus in her right knee while playing for her club volleyball team.
“It was really hard. Probably harder mentally than it was physically,” said Furlong, Galena’s senior outside hitter. “It’s just working hard every day because I really wanted to play with my team this season. That was my motivation to get back on the court.”
Furlong had surgery on January 28, and after missing out on the abbreviated spring season, was cleared for action in August. She’s certainly picking up where she left off after a strong sophomore campaign.
Furlong leads the Class 1A No. 3-ranked Pirates in kills this season with 108 after adding seven more on Tuesday night, helping Galena sweep rival East Dubuque, 25-13, 25-16, to remain undefeated on the season at 16-0.
“We have a really good bond as a team,” Furlong said. “It’s been real easy to get to know each other and get to play together. It’s going to be a really exciting season. We all play so well together.
“We definitely go out there and play our hardest every game. You never know when you’re going to be done. With injuries and COVID, you never know when you won’t be able to play again.”
Taylor Hilby, a junior, led the Pirates with 10 kills against the Warriors (2-4-1), taking her season total to 86. Julia Townsend delivered 25 assists and Addie Hefel had 13 digs as the Pirates secured their 18th straight win over ED since 2014.
“None in the loss column yet,” Galena coach Dennis Wills said. “We’re taking one game at a time. We knew tonight, a big rivalry, nice hot gym, it’d be tough. We’ve been talking a lot about our execution and we want to get better. I thought we did a pretty darn good job.”
Furlong has been the inspirational leader, putting in the work to get back with her teammates and has delivered 3.6 kills per set so far this fall. She set the tone with five kills and an ace in the opening set as the Pirates took their first lead at 3-2 and played in front the rest of the way.
“Maggie’s our team leader. She’s the captain on the floor,” Wills said. “She just has a great following amongst the girls, and that’s huge for this team. To have somebody they know they can go to and rely on. She’s seen it all. She played on our state team, so she’s been around a long time.”
Furlong’s hoping she can stay healthy for what’s shaping up to be a special season.
“It really killed me to miss last season,” she said. “I got hurt my freshman year, too, as I broke my ankle. I didn’t play all season but got to make it back for the state run. It’s really hard to watch everyone on the court and not be able to play. But it was a good experience for the rest of the team to play without me, too.”
Anna Berryman led East Dubuque with six kills, and Ali Barklow added four kills with eight digs. Callie Kaiser had seven assists.
“My girls came out in the first game and they weren’t covering, a lot of net calls, a lot of our mistakes,” Warriors coach Ashley Sites said. “I feel in the second game, we got a little bit better rhythm, controlling the ball more and getting more hits off of our setters. That helped tremendously. Then we just hit a block and played more like in the first game. Just kind of played down at that point.”