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Rocklin outmuscles Whitney in preseason volleyball

Thunder seek SFL title
By: Jim Linsdau Placer Herald Sports Editor
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The Whitney High boys volleyball team put up a good fight against cross-town rival Rocklin, but the boys in blue were in no mood for an upset as they rolled to a 3-1 victory, Monday. Either sharing or outright winning the Sierra Foothill League title the last two years, Rocklin again showed the talent and power to repeat in 2012. They are returning as the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions and could well defend that title this season. “We go in with the mindset that we’re going to win league,” said Rocklin head coach John Kirk, who returns to the helm after several years away. “We believe in ourselves. We should be one of the two top teams,” Kirk added as to the Thunders’ position in the SFL. Whitney is coming off an impressive year going 15-0 in the Capital Athletic League. However, this year’s Wildcats are young with only three seniors on the roster. Still, Whitney head coach Kirsten Parker sees no reason her club won’t be in the mix again this season. Sophomore David Parker had a very good night collecting an unofficial 11 kills for his club. The Wildcats totaled 26 kills on the night, nine in match three won by the ‘Cats 25-15. Coach Parker was quite optimistic about her team’s chances of making it to the playoffs in spite of graduating eight of her players last year. In fact, she said this year’s club could be better than last year’s. “We won a game against Rocklin; the first in four years,” said coach Parker, whose team was coming off four wins in five matches during a tournament the previous weekend. “We have some things to work on but I’m not disappointed.” Whitney almost got a second win in the second set falling 25-23. The Wildcats were up 18-17 before the Thunder gained the upper hand. The two teams appeared about even in unforced errors, but the Wildcats committed 10 in the final game helping Rocklin earn a 25-16 victory and win the match. Both clubs were playing without their top setters. Whitney’s setter broke his wrist in practice, and the Thunder setter was out with a sprained ankle. The two rivals both played well considering the season has just begun. However, neither played with a great deal of intensity, which coach Parker said wasn’t unusual. She said many of the players compete together in the off season and use these “rivalry” games to work on their skills. “With Rocklin we always tend to have a sort of slow pace,” said Kirsten Parker. “It’s more of a friendly game. We started this way the couple years playing Rocklin.” Coach Parker said she and coach Kirk discussed playing a game later in the year to help both clubs prepare for the section playoffs. The Thunder travel to Ponderosa for a match tonight, and then return March 8 for a match with Jesuit. The Wildcats go on the road to Monterey Trail tonight and then come home for a game against El Dorado, Monday. ROCKLIN 3, WHITNEY 1 Thunder 25 25 15 25 Wildcats 11 23 25 16