Tigers can’t hold off first-place Del Oro

Roseville in three-way tie for second place
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Another five-game thriller closed out the first half of the Sierra Foothill League volleyball season for Roseville High. The Tigers, who had recorded earlier wins over league powerhouses Rocklin and Nevada Union, could not do it again, as they went the distance before losing to front-running Del Oro Monday night in Loomis. Roseville had its chances to win along the way, but the Golden Eagles were too strong, as Del Oro won 21-25, 25-11, 21-25, 25-21, 15-9. Roseville was solid in the early going, leading most of the first game before finally putting it away, but the Tigers got off to a horrific start in game two as Del Oro got back into the match. Bailey Humes served the Lady Eagles out to a 13-0 advantage before Roseville finally scored a point in that crucial second game. “We started out strong and executed well in the first game,” said Roseville coach Ron Grove. “In the second game we got in a hole with some bad passing and came back strong in the third. We had the lead in the fourth game but could not close it out. Del Oro made fewer mistakes and were able to sustain their consistent play longer than we were, which was the difference in the match.” With some big kills mixed in, Del Oro’s Belle Obert delivered six big points in that 13-point run. Obert and Aly Duffin provided the Golden Eagles with a powerful duo at the net all night long to counter Roseville’s attack, led by Katie Simon, Kelsey Roland, Simone Durham and Stephanie Blumm. After the overwhelming loss in the second game, Roseville managed to right the ship for game three behind some strong serving by Jessica Richardson combined with the play of Simon at the net. At one critical juncture, Simon blocked three consecutive kill attempts to pick up a Roseville point, an impressive performance necessitated by Del Oro’s ability to keep the ball alive. “Katie Simon played a nice game in front row with10 blocks,” Grove said. “She is a good quick athlete and does a good job using her athleticism to make plays.” The Tigers let Del Oro get away after jumping to an 11-4 advantage early in the fourth game, mostly courtesy seven straight serves by Hillary Coy. Along the way, Roseville got some amazing work on the back line from Coy, Morgan Diminyatz and Allison Campbell. Setter Kali Lahoun did some nice work in the digging department in game four. Unfortunately for Roseville, there was a talented Del Oro team on the other side of the net, and the Lady Eagles refused to give in. Obert got hot at the service line and lifted her team from a four-point deficit to a one-point lead, and then key kills by Duffin, Humes and Hannah Oros down the stretch delivered the fourth game to Del Oro and forced a fifth and decided frame. Humes served the Golden Eagles out to a 4-0 advantage to open the fifth game, as Del Oro eventually led 7-1 and that was too much for Roseville to overcome even with some outstanding work at the net from Simon. The win puts Del Oro (5-1 in the SFL) on top of the league standings at the midway point, with Roseville, Nevada Union and Rocklin all sitting at 4-2. “This league is probably top to bottom the strongest volleyball league I have seen in 30 years of coaching.” Grove said. “Every team is incredibly talented and deep, with more than one or two good players. We knew no one would go undefeated in league and we expect the second half of league to be as tough as the first half. Hopefully the return of Abbey Wade will give us more depth.” Wade has been out with an injury since the Tigers league opener three weeks ago. The Tigers are at Nevada Union in a huge game Wednesday night, while Del Oro is at Granite Bay (3-3).