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Roseville spikers down Rocklin, leave underdog role behind

3-1 win puts Tigers on top of SFL
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Flying under the radar is no longer an option for the Roseville High girls volleyball team. After surprising powerful Nevada Union in their league opener last week, the Tigers raised their game one more time Monday night in taking a 24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 thriller over a dominating Rocklin team. The victory puts the Tigers in first place in the Sierra Foothill League, and sends the message throughout the league that this young team can play. “This was a big win and shows the development of the team,” said Roseville coach Ron Grove. “We have gained strength from our last two matches against NU and Oakmont, finding out how good we are and how we respond to a challenge.” While Roseville understands the history of success at Rocklin, it also entered the game confident in its own abilities. “We have a great deal of respect for Rocklin and their coach Dave Muscarella,” Grove said. “The win is one step along our way of the season and we are stressing playing hard, playing to our best ability in any circumstance.” The Tigers were outstanding in the back row all night long, responding to each powerful Rocklin hit with an even more impressive dig. The Thunder got outstanding power at the net from Katelyn Ivy, Olivia Lane, Cailyn Prewitt and Clarissa Prewitt, but Roseville had answers. “Defensively we are playing well and that is a tribute to our block taking away areas of the court allowing our back row to dig balls,” Grove said. “Morgan Diminyatz is becoming dominant in the back row. While dominant is usually reserved for front row players, Morgan is doing it in the back row the way she is playing defense, able to be in the right position reading the hitters and making the play.” “Games in this league are all going to be like this,” Muscarella said. “Roseville had a great game defensively. They didn’t let anything drop.” Diminyatz had 20 digs in the contest, but she had a lot of help. Allison Campbell continued to serve well, and she also contributed some amazing saves on powerful Rocklin blasts. While Rocklin tended to give away points as it struggled for consistency with its service game, the Tigers were consistent with putting its serves inside the lines, providing themselves with opportunities to score points in the run of play. Katie Simon and Simone Durham hit and blocked well for Roseville, but as usual, the Tigers received huge contributions from a pair of other front row specialists. With Abbey Wade still out due to injury, Grove made a few line-up adjustments and they paid off in a big way. “A key last night was Stephanie Blumm moving to outside hitter, giving up more height on the outside,” Grove said. “She had 13 kills with only four errors for a .692 hitting pct. She came up big time and time again.” On many occasions, it was Blumm delivering powerful cross-court kills to deliver key points to the Roseville column. Late in the match, the junior, who missed the Oakmont game due to illness, threw the Thunder a little surprise when she went down the line with a crucial rip. With each game tightly contested, the Tigers needed to string together winners in order to keep up with Rocklin. On two occasions, once in game two and again in the fourth game, Jessica Richardson strung together long runs at the service line to pull the Tigers from a few points down back into contention. With 2-0 Del Oro still looming down the road, and a second time through the schedule coming, Grove and his team understand that there is a lot of work to do. “It was a good win, but we are focusing on what helps our success, staying hungry and playing to our best ability,” Grove said. “We responded well when they made runs of points and were physically, mentally and emotionally ready to play well and come back. This team is aware of the ups and downs of volleyball and is able to ride them out and take advantage of opportunity when it comes around.” Rocklin hosts Oakmont at 6 p.m. Wednesday night, while Roseville visits Granite Bay.