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Netting a playoff spot

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Thanks to a change in the California Interscholastic Federation – Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball playoff selection, two of the local teams are solid contenders to make the postseason. This is not to say they wouldn’t have made it otherwise, but the picture is clearer at this point than in the past.

Each league will now send their top three teams instead of using the power ratings of previous seasons. It also opens the door for teams with a .500 or better league record to participate as well.

The power ratings were a bit more complicated adding in a team’s preseason wins as well. The rating was based on how difficult an opponent was determined to be and how tough was the league in which it played.

Right now, it appears Lincoln will have to sit out this year, but in the latter part of the season the Fighting Zebras made things interesting in the Pioneer Valley League.

Placer is on track to take the title and Bear River is a strong second. Colfax held down the third spot with a 3-2 league record. Lincoln trailed in fourth. Lincoln had been unable to beat any of the top three, but gave the Falcons a scare in their final meeting, 26-28, 22-25 and 22-25. In their first meeting, Colfax won decisively.

In spite of sitting out this season, first-year head coach Shannon Kellar has the Zebras’ program headed in the right direction.

Whitney sits in the Capital Athletic League’s third spot and appears they will remain there; ergo – playoffs. The Wildcats have a three-game lead on both Mira Loma and Antelope with three games to go.

The Wildcats have improved greatly under second-year coach James Todd in spite of having to go up against league powerhouses El Camino and Rio Americano each year. The Eagles were Division II section champs last year defeating Rocklin in the championship game.

But, Division III will also be tough again this year with Placer, Rio Americano and Vista del Lago loading the brackets.

Rocklin offers perhaps the most exciting showdown, typical of the Sierra Foothill League. The Thunder and Del Oro met Monday with each two games out of first behind Granite Bay and each a game ahead of Roseville.

Rocklin came up big for a 3-1 win over the Golden Eagles, the same score the Thunder lost by at Del Oro earlier in the season.

That put the Eagles in a tie with the Tigers who defeated Woodcreek 3-0 Monday. Rocklin’s recored is now 5-2, Del Oro and Roseville are 4-3.

Both Rocklin and Del Oro have to play Roseville one more time. The Thunder did so Wednesday and the Eagles get them next week.

It is conceivable the SFL could send one of its top four contenders into the playoffs as a .500 team.

It would make for interesting theater and all but Granite Bay would fall into Division II. The Grizzlies would compete in Division I unless the section selection committee decided to make some changes.

It’s almost showtime.