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Eagles rebuild after playoff run

Placer looks toward future; Bear River seeks another trip to postseason
By: Justin A. Lawson and Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Staff
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With five starting seniors last season, the Del Oro boys volleyball team rode its experience all the way to the playoffs. But now that those seniors have moved on the Golden Eagles are in full rebuild mode with underclassmen playing a big role. “We have six brand new starters so we’re very young,” said Del Oro coach Levi Oates, who is in his first year in varsity after coaching junior varsity the last two seasons. “So the team this year will be more of a defensive team because of our size. It’s a different style of volleyball obviously.” The Eagles went 20-10 last season and the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I tournament. This season, they are off to a 2-1 start but have yet to face a Sierra Foothill League opponent. SFL rival Rocklin was last season’s section champ and figures to be among the top again this season. “The SFL is an extremely difficult league with Granite Bay, Nevada Union and Rocklin,” Oates said. “But we hope to compete with those teams and do well. Our goal is to make the playoffs this year.” Del Oro will rely on a more defensive approach this season with a new cast of characters. Junior Kevin Remme is the starting libero and sophomore setter Mason Humes is expected to set up the attack along with junior Jake Ball. Placer The Hillmen are young, but talented under coach Robert Cole. Placer is off to a 1-6 start after finishing 2-13 last season. But Cole believes the future is bright as a host of sophomores have enthused the Hillmen program, including 6-3 Alex O’Toole and 6-5 Tyler Linton. Versatile senior Sam Bennett captains Placer this season along with senior Josh Fitts and junior Collin Houston. Placer will be back on the court Tuesday in a Capital League battle against El Camino at Earl Crabbe Gym. Bear River The Bruins had a surprising run last season under first-year coach Lance Mansuetti and will look to take another step forward this spring. Bear River stunned McClatchy in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs before falling to Vista Del Lago in round two. The Bruins lost four valuable seniors, but should be dangerous again with setter Nathan Mansuetti setting up hitters Richard Young, Tyler Hajewski and Jed Lyon. Bear River will take on Placer at home on Thursday after a road match at Whitney on Tuesday.