Whitney ties El Dorado for PVL title in boys soccer

Rocklin advances to DII playoffs
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Whitney High’s varsity boys soccer team tied El Dorado for the Pioneer Valley League championship but the Wildcats will still have to open the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division IV playoffs on the road. Both teams finished with a 9-0-3 record in league play but El Dorado won a coin flip on Tuesday and therefore the Cougars will play a home match in the first round. The teams played twice in the league season, tying 1-1 both times. The playoffs begin next Tuesday and Whitney will open at either Ceres High or Central Valley High. ‘The playoffs are an entirely different creature. What we did during the regular season helped to get us here but your game has to be at a much higher level now,” Whitney coach Rich Donofrio said. “The play will be faster and more aggressive and more intense and it’s one and done. And everything is on the line. What we did in the regular season is great but (Tuesday) was the start of a new season for us and we’re preparing for an intense match-up.” Whitney could have won the PVL title outright with a victory over visiting Bear River on Monday but the match ended in a 0-0 tie. Whitney had 27 shots on goal while the defensive-minded Bruins had just two. “It was a good test for us . . . it was an exciting game,” Donofrio said. “I knew going into the match against Bear River that they were going to play for a tie and that’s pretty much what they did. They parked 10 players in front of their goal and defended for the entire 80 minutes. They did not have a quality shot on our goal. But they played their hearts out and hats off to them. It’s exciting for them to finish the season how they did, tying El Dorado and then us.” Whitney (11-2-4 overall) won 5-0 at Colfax on Oct. 28 as TJ Papenfuss scored twice and Alex Donofrio, Michael Swift and Eirik Sterri scored once each. Rocklin The Thunder won 3-0 at Nevada Union on Oct. 29 to secure a position in the DII playoffs. As it turned out Rocklin would have made the playoffs even with a loss in the league finale as Del Oro lost to Roseville at the same time. “It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless,” Rocklin coach Grant Depue said. “We played really sloppy soccer missing passes all throughout the midfield but the defense held strong.” Rocklin will open the playoffs at 3 p.m. against Vista del Lago at Folsom High on Friday. Vista del Lago was the champion of the Sierra Valley Conference. “If things go the way we expect them to we will meet Roseville in the semifinals,” Depue said. “I fully expect to have three SFL teams (Rocklin, Roseville, Granite Bay) in the semifinals.” Walter Finney scored twice in the win at Nevada Union and Cameron Powell scored once.