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Placer punishing all comers

Hillmen cruising through PVL, eyeing third straight section crown
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Dan Fraguglia doesn’t have to look far to find tough competition on the tennis court. But he doesn’t count on it when he throws his Placer High uniform on. The senior said his toughest matches come on the practice court. “Our top four guys are really playing on a high level,” Fraguglia said. “It’s great to get competition — in practice. It seems like no matter what the other teams have, we are going to win the match. Definitely on the guys side, we’re almost unbeatable.” Fraguglia won’t likely get any arguments from coaches around the Pioneer Valley League. Placer rolled past Whitney 7-2 Thursday and has yet to lose a match since joining the PVL in 2007. The Placer boys lived up to their billing on Tuesday at Placer, though Whitney’s two boys doubles teams put up good fights. At No. 1 singles, Andy Riggs coasted to a 6-0, 6-0 victory while Dan Fraguglia had an easy 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 2. Cameron McCallister teamed up with Dan Ragusano for a 7-5, 6-2 win at No. 1 boys doubles. Marco Varela and Brad Ray overpowered their Wildcat opponents for a 6-3, 7-5 win. The Placer girls, led by seniors Amelia Arnold and Tori Winters, finished off the victory. Winters was off the court quickly with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 2 singles. Arnold fought through a tough first set to get a 7-5, 6-1 win at No. 1 and clinch the team’s victory. “In the second set I started moving in and putting more pressure on her,” Arnold said. “And I just started hitting my shots.” Arnold steadily worked her way up the Placer ladder, earning the No. 1 singles spot that had been her goal since joining the Placer program. Her brother Hudson Arnold played No. 1 boys singles at Placer before graduating in 2007. “It’s been awesome to get to play No. 1. It was always my dream,” Arnold said. Winters and Arnold helped rebuild the Placer girls’ side, which had just six players last season. They recruited friends and top athletes from other sports to make sure the Placer squad would retain its customary deep lineup. Volleyball standout Melissa Stoll and basketball player Bailey Bill form Placer’s No. 2 doubles team, which lost a three-set thriller to Whitney Tuesday. “Half of the team graduated last year and we didn’t know who would be coming back this season,” Arnold explained. “We had friends interested in coming out and people from other sports who wanted to play. It’s awesome.” In mixed doubles Tuesday, Blair Meyer and Jenny Anthony posted a 6-3, 6-3 win for the Hillmen, who will travel to Bear River on Thursday for their final test in the first half of PVL play. Fraguglia said it’s sometimes tough for the team to stay focused in the midst of the lopsided matches. But long-term goals help keep Placer on track for a third straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title. “It’s definitely tough not to look ahead,” Fraguglia said. “We’re known to be a little cocky, but we can’t think about losing. We always expect to go out and win.”