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Lady Hillmen in their happy place after winning Pioneer Valley League title

Placer prepping for section tourney
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Madi Holm is peaking at the perfect time. The Placer High school senior golfer recorded her first eagle on a 404-yard, par-5 hole Monday and helped the Lady Hillmen cap off a perfect Pioneer Valley League season by winning the 18-hole league finale at Diamond Oaks Monday. The victory marked the third straight year Placer (17-0 PVL) has gone undefeated in league play. Although the team won most of its matches by 30 strokes or more, success doesn’t come as easy as it sounds. “We still have to work hard,” said Holm, who fired an 81 on the par-74 Roseville course, which was good for the second best score overall. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Holm’s teammate, Hannah Gregg, shot a match-best 75 and was named the PVL MVP. Placer’s scoring was rounded out by Kasey Egusa (92), Brooke Griffin (110) and Hayden Page (113). Egusa, a junior, was ecstatic about the triumph. “We have a lot of fun while we play,” she said. “We are all dedicated — golfing is a passion for us. Plus, we have the best coach (Carol French).” Placer’s overall score of 471 was followed by Bear River (497), Lincoln (514) and Center (537). Bear River and Lincoln wound up in a tie for second place in the PVL standings. Jessica Pisenti led Bear River with an 81. She was followed by Cassie Smith (90), Olivia Naves (106), Shelby Lampson (110) and Malone Pearson (110). Gregg, a four-year player, said the team’s success over the last three years has not gone unnoticed. “I think (winning) makes everyone pay attention to the golf team more because nobody really knows who we are,” she said. “… Some of the teachers are recognizing us and the athletic director (Mark Lee) said congratulations, so it’s nice.” By virtue of winning the PVL, Placer advances to this coming Monday’s Div. III Section Tournament at Yolo Fliers Club in Woodland, a course Placer has never played on. The Lady Hillmen will face two teams from the Capital Athletic League and two from the Tri-County Conference. Included in the field are a tough Whitney squad and Woodland, which regularly plays at Yolo Fliers and features Texas verbal commit Sara Scarlett. “Woodland has home advantage, but what can you do?” French said. The match could be the last time the Lady Hillmen golf with Griffin, as she will be relocating to Georgia. Two teams will advance from the 18-hole contest. An additional two individuals will also move on to the Masters Tournament held at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton. Those who advance from Masters move on to Nor Cals, where the winners advance to the State Meet. Both Gregg and Holm could potentially advance if the team doesn't. Gregg, who will be releasing a recruiting highlight video later in the week and made it to Nor Cals last year, believes her dream of making the State Meet is a possibility. “It’s been my goal since freshman year,” she said. Reach Matthew Kimel at matthewk@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel