Beskeen, Bear River beat Placer boys volleyball team

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Justin Beskeen put on quite a show.

The Bear River senior, who will be attending Cal State Northridge on a volleyball scholarship next year, went on an 11-point service run Thursday night at Earl Crabbe Gym late in the third set to help the Bruins secure a sweep over Placer in a Capital League opener.

With the Bruins trailing 21-12 in the final set it appeared a fourth set was looming, but Beskeen’s rally assisted the Bruins in closing out Placer and earning a 25-18, 25-13, 26-24 victory.

“I was just really focusing on my serves and trying to do the basics,” Beskeen said of his impressive run. “In the beginning I wasn’t really trying to hit the ball really hard. I was trying to keep it in. Once I started getting a rhythm, I just started hitting it harder and harder.”

Said Bear River coach Lance Mansuetti: “For a jump server to be able to serve that hard and keep that many in in a row is pretty uncommon. Usually they’ll get like three or four and then miss one.”

The hard-hitting and high-flying Beskeen also had 11 kills, one block and five aces for the Bruins (1-0).

Placer (2-2), which lost its second straight contest, was led by Logan Wagner (eight kills, four blocks), Parker Houston (18 assists) and Collin Houston (six kills).

The Hillmen held leads of 9-5 in the first set and 17-7 in the third but couldn’t manage to win a game.

“In the first set we just started to get on a reverse roll,” said Placer coach Andy Klem. “We had a couple of things go the wrong way. All of the sudden they’re four or six ahead.  We didn’t do the necessary things like getting good passes. For the last one, you got to give it to the kid who was rocking the ball a bunch of times. We just weren’t able to close it out. He was serving crazy, fast balls.”

Mansuetti was glad his team was able to get the come-from-behind victory in Game 3 because he feared the Hillmen could gain momentum if the Bruins let them hang around.

“I didn’t want to take that chance,” Mansuetti said. “There’s always energy in this gym and if you allow Placer to get that energy, they can beat anyone.”

Karsten Staples had nine kills, Tyler Hajewski added eight and Jaxson Toschi assisted on 22 points for Bear River, which hosts Rio Americano Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Placer returns to the court Tuesday when it takes on Whitney in Rocklin at 6 p.m. Klem is expecting another tough battle against the Wildcats, who are led by David Parker — another solid college volleyball recruit.

“It’s tough to go against the one and two teams in the league at the start,” Klem said. “It’s not going to get any easier.”

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