Golden Eagles aim to settle scores

Del Oro volleyball team stacked in balanced SFL
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
The Del Oro High volleyball team had its best season yet last year. But the Golden Eagle’s 28-6 record overall wasn’t enough to unseat the Sac-Joaquin Division II Section Champions, Rocklin (43-4 overall). Del Oro coach Stuart Kageta said this year his team is setting their sights on a Sierra Foothill League Championship — and on beating their rivals the Thundering Herd. “It’s going to be so balanced. The other teams also have so many good players,” Kageta said. “We don’t go into a season thinking that we aren’t shooting for a league championship. I don’t try to put that on them, but I am hoping that is what they want. I’d rather kids set high goals.” Among those rising to the challenge are seniors Tatum Jungsten and Megan Hentchke. Jungsten, a middle, verbally committed to play for Division I University at Albany. She agrees with Kageta that Del Oro is bringing some unique strengths with them on the court. “The extra edge is the way the girls get along so well,” Kageta said. “We really work on that. We went to Tahoe Valley as team building last week Every year is so different because of the dynamic and mix of players coming in.” Aside from beating Rocklin, Jungsten has another score to settle. “I kind of want to get in on Granite Bay, like a sneak attack,” Jungsten said. “I’d like to repay them. They beat us twice last year in those games where you think you have it.” In a nod to the team’s camaraderie, Jungsten said she will be relying on the help of Hentchke, the libero. “She is the type of player if the ball were on the freeway she would go after it,” Jungsten said. “She would go 110 to get the ball. In volleyball you need that because the ball isn’t going to just come to you.” Hentchke said she is looking forward to what she can accomplish as a senior on the team. “I am looking to having more of a leadership role,” Hentchke said. “Bring the juniors and seniors closer together. It’s a lot higher tempo than JV and I don’t want them to be afraid to shake it up.” Kageta said he hasn’t chosen captains yet for the team. He wants the team to get acquainted with one another and choose their own captains. Returners junior Brianna Ruiz and senior Destinee Sales will be key players on the court, both display strong athleticism. Sophomore Amy Heyn is the Golden Eagle’s lone, but capable setter. Kageta said he and assistant coach Sami Gray, who graduated from Del Oro in 2007, have a collaborative approach to coaching. He wants to draw on Gray’s background as a kinesiology major to help condition the team. “I really think it’s important for the girls to buy in,” Kageta said. “I want the girls to take some ownership. We are going to focus a lot on conditioning. We have to do something to set ourselves apart. We also talk a lot about the mental side of the game.” The Golden Eagles will face off in their first match against Oak Ridge, in El Dorado Hills, on Aug. 30. Reach Sara Seyydin at