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Falcons aim to reclaim perch

Colfax Volleyball Outlook
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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COLFAX — Vicky Saterlee has watched the Pioneer Valley League emerge as a volleyball power over the past five years. Her Colfax High team has gone from perennial favorite to underdog, but the veteran coach believes the Falcons are ready to regain their championship form. “This should be our year,” Satterlee said. “I know we’ve got great comptitoin from Bear River and Placer, as usual. But we just need to make it happen. The talent is there.” Returning all-leaguers Iona Lofrano, Haley Biles and Whittet are Colfax’s biggest reasons for optimism. Lofrano has been a dominant outside hitter for the past two years, but she’s added more to her gamete his season, playing on the back row and improving her serve. Biles is a steady setter who acts as a coach on the floor. She’s also mentoring her sister Lindsey, a promising sophomore who should get plenty of action. “We’ve always practiced at home together,” Biles said. “It’s nice to have someone there to hit with all the time. It’s helped us both.” Whittet is undersized at 5-7, but she is a great leaper and hits the ball with authority. She’s excited to have one last shot at a league title with her close teammates. “The senior class, we’ve been together since seventh grade and we work really well together,” senior Kelsey Whittet said. “The junior class is really athletic, so we’re hoping to win league.” The Falcons’ strength might be their depth of talent. Senior Maggie Aubuchon has come on strong at middle hitter. She’s 6-2 and has improved steadily since transferring from Forest Lake Christian after her sophomore year. Sophomore Maddi Ittner can do a lot of things on the court. The daughter of E.V. Cain principal Randy Ittner, Maddi plays middle hitter, outside hitter and can even play on the back row. Junior Kelly Harris adds firepower to the lineup along with Katy Thomas and Emily Moore. On the back row, senior Ashley Scott is quick and fearless at libero. Taylor Pitts and Sara Davidson are also contributors there. Satterlee welcomed former Falcon Jessica Gall to her sideline this season. The 2005 Colfax product graduated from Dowling College with a degree in communications last spring and wrapped up a volleyball career that was full of ups and downs. Gall started as a middle blocker at Sacramento City College. A major shoulder injury forced her to move to libber, where she turned into an all-American for the Panthers. She endured a knee injury at Dowling and gained plenty of perspective on the game she loves. “From sitting out and watching, you see a lot more,” Gall said. “I think you look at the game deeper. It’s an honor to be coaching here with Vicki.” Gall has enthused the program and introduced a new level of conditioning that the Falcons believe could be the difference in big matches later in the season. “She’s definitely brought in more conditioning and a new level of fitness for us,” Lofrano said of Gall. “I think our endurance will be a key.” The league title race could very well come down to the showdowns with Placer and Bear River. “For some reason it gets in our heads when we play Placer,” Whittet said. “Bear River’s one of the toughest matches of the season. Hopefully we can beat them, that’s our biggest goal of the season.”