Rocklin volleyball team hangs 10 on SFL

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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A perfect Sierra Foothill League season was not going to be easy. Rocklin High School’s volleyball team would have to earn it by going five games for just the second time in 10 SFL matches. Nevada Union is to blame for both of those occasions. The Miners traveled to Rocklin on Monday night and pushed the Thunder, threatening Rocklin’s bid to finish unscathed in the league. Rocklin lost the first game, won the next two and then lost the fourth, forcing a 15-point fifth game. The Thunder jumped ahead early and went on to win 15-9 as their fans chanted “Undefeated!” “Winning league three years in a row and going undefeated is a big accomplishment for us,” senior Lauren Orozco said. “We didn’t have a game in league where we could sit back and relax.” Rocklin won at Nevada Union on Oct. 14 after losing the first two games and winning the fifth 17-15. Thunder coach Dave Muscarella knew his team would be in for a test Monday night and welcomed it. After losing the first game 29-27, Rocklin bounced back with 25-20 and 25-19 victories. A bit of sloppy play by the Thunder allowed the Miners to stay in the match by winning the fourth game. Rocklin then took the fifth game to improve to 36-0 in best-of-five matches this season. The Thunder’s three losses came in two best-of-three matches and a one-game match in tournaments. Muscarella said he often ends practices by having his players compete in a fifth-game scenario. They are not exactly fresh as daisies by then, so the drill tests their stamina and perseverance. “They’re tired, and that’s the way it’s going to be when we have to play a fifth game,” Muscarella explained. “Our unforced errors made us go to a fifth game, but we picked it back up.” Monday’s match was Rocklin’s last in the school’s small gymnasium. Sac-Joaquin Section playoff matches will be held in the main gym. Senior Olivia Lane would much rather stay in the small gym. “This is a real special place,” said Lane, a third-year varsity player. “It’s like our home.” Rocklin will be home Tuesday night for a first-round Division II playoff match against Folsom. The Thunder has achieved its first two goals of a league championship and a perfect SFL season. The third is a section title. Muscarella’s team will not have to worry about facing St. Francis of Sacramento in the section playoffs. St. Francis is now in Division I after beating Rocklin in the Division II playoffs the past two years.