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Rocklin schools prepare for 2011 volleyball season

Wildcats, Thunder looking for titles
By: Andrew Hazard Gold Country Media Correspondent
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The Wildcats finished third in the Capital League (4-6, 8-12 overall) in 2010. They brought in a new head coach in James Todd, who will have five players from last season returning in 2011. He is excited for the season. “I just made my cuts last week so I finally have my varsity roster,” he said. Todd is hoping senior outside hitter/team captain Kaylin Squyres, senior middle hitter Julia Davena, junior outside hitter/team captain Lexie May and junior center/team captain Lainey Basquez all have a big impact on the Wildcats’ season. Squyres is bound for UC Davis next year on a volleyball scholarship. Referred to by her coach as a “monster player,” Squyres said she likes to go up high and see just where she wants to hammer the ball. Although the Wildcats have lost some players via graduation, Squyres feels Whitney can win. “Each year it gets a little bit better,” said Squyres, who played varsity as a freshman. “I think this year with the team dynamic we can take it a step further, and our girls are ready.” Todd will also have some new players at his disposal like transfer sophomore opposite hitter Mackenzie Berlin, who Todd said the club was lucky to have. Todd has some pretty big expectations for his team in his first season at Whitney. “Hopes for the season are just for all of these girls just to gel and hopefully we make a run at a section title,” he said. Todd said the Wildcats have a really tough preseason schedule. He’s hoping the teams they face will help the ‘Cats gain confidence going into league play. And Whitney will need confidence heading into Capital Athletic League play having to face title favorites El Camino and Rio Americano. The Wildcats host Rio Americano, Sept. 19, and then travel to El Camino for a game Sept. 21. Whitney will face both teams two more times later in the season. Todd is happy with how much the team has progressed already and he is looking forward to an exciting 2011 season. “The girls are responding well. We played in a couple of summer tournaments and we placed fairly high, we finished in second-place in one of them,” Todd said. “There was some pretty tough teams in those tournaments so we’re looking good right now.” Rocklin High _ The Rocklin High School girls volleyball team played great in 2010. The Thunder finished the season undefeated in the Sierra Foothill League (11-0) and went 43-4 overall (31st in California). Head coach David Muscarella is hoping for much of the same success in 2011. Rocklin returns seven players from last year’s team. Muscarella expects senior outside hitter and team captain Katelyn Ivy to have a big role on the team this year. Ivy led the Thunder in kills per game and finished second on the team in digs per game. Rocklin will also rely on one of its other team captains, senior outside hitter Cailyn Prewitt. Prewitt finished second on the team in kills per game just behind Ivy. Senior middle hitter Erin Davis should play a key role as well for Muscarella’s squad. She led the Thunder in blocks per game in 2010, and is a team captain this year. Senior libero Sierra Ultzen and junior opposite hitter Sara Sheehy should also have big years in 2011. Sheehy was third on the team in blocks per game in 2010. With a tough preseason schedule and an SFL that is bound to get better, these girls must step up quickly to makeup for the talent lost from last season’s team. Muscarella must find a replacement for senior captain and defensive specialist Allie Judd, setter and team captain Jill Wirt, senior middle/hitter team captain Olivia Lane and libero/senior captain Lauren Orozco. Lane now attends Hawaii Hilo and Orozco goes to Chico State. Muscarella is ready to have a fun and winning season. “My hopes are that we can fill in some of the gaps from players missing from last year and will be able to continue playing hard, successful volleyball,” Muscarella said. Additional reporting by Jim Linsdau