Placer, Del Oro open Division III volleyball playoffs at home

By: Journal Sports Staff
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All but one of the five local teams kicking off tonight’s Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball playoffs will host their postseason openers. No. 11 Colfax travels to Newman to take on No. 6 Orestimba in Division IV action, while Placer, Del Oro, Golden Sierra and Forest Lake Christian all host first-round matches. In the Division III bracket, the No. 5 Hillgals welcome No. 12 Rio Americano and the No. 6 Golden Eagles will take on No. 11 Sierra of Manteca. Placer (16-6) went 11-1 to win the Pioneer Valley League. The Hillgals swept the Raiders in two games in a tournament meeting earlier this fall. “We know that they are kind of an up-and-down team and that they have a big outside hitter that has played club with some of the girls on my team, so she’s definitely to be respected,” Placer head coach Jennifer Wright said. “I don’t think that they played up to their potential at the Roseville Tournament so we’re going to have to come ready to play.” The teams have common opponents in Red Bluff, which Placer beat in its only meeting and downed Rio Americano twice, as well as Bear River, which both teams swept, and Roseville, which both teams fell to. Sierra (10-8, 8-6 Valley Oak League) travels to Loomis to face a Del Oro squad looking for a fresh start. The Eagles were swept in their final three regular season matches after winning 13 straight at one point. Del Oro finished 24-6 overall and 8-4 in the SFL, tying Nevada Union for second place. Head coach Stu Kageta knows little about the Timberwolves, who shared no common opponents with the Eagles this season. “Really we don’t know anything, and that’s OK,” Kageta said. “We really need to focus on ourselves. We’ve really had a lot of team meetings lately. We talked about drawing a line. This is a brand new season and everyone starts out at 0-0. The girls feel good about it. We’re feeling really excited about starting all over.” In Division IV action, No. 5 Golden Sierra will host No. 12 Calaveras and Colfax visits Orestimba. The Grizzlies (21-9, 12-0 Golden Empire League) struggled down the stretch, dropping three of their last five. Sophomore Kaitlyn Christner leads Golden Sierra with 282 kills and 41 blocks, while junior setter Allison Copp has 661 assists and 102 aces. The Falcons (12-7, 10-2 PVL), who finished a game behind the champion Hillgals in the PVL, are 6-1 on the road but could have their hands full with the Warriors (24-6), who went 14-1 to dominate the Western League. Cassandra Campbell and Audrey Lewis lead Colfax against a streaky Orestimba squad that dropped its season-opener to Modesto Christian before winning its next 13 matches. The Warriors then lost five of their next six but are a perfect 10-0 since. Colfax and Orestimba have no opponents in common. In the Division V bracket, No. 6 Forest Lake Christian hosts No. 11 Wilton Christian. The Falcons (14-9, 9-3 Central Valley Christian League) have won four straight. FLC swept the Patriots (13-9, 11-3 Harvest Christian League) in their season-opener. Foresthill traveled to Victory Christian Monday for the play-in match and fell in five games, 21-25, 20-25, 25-16, 25-19, 5-15. “We kind of imploded in that last game,” said first-year head coach Stacy Stroup, whose Wildfires (6-10, 5-7 CVCL) had split two earlier meetings with their league rival. Victory advances to face top seed Bradshaw Christian tonight.