Vista could make run at another title

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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As defending Division III Sac-Joaquin Section champions, the title belongs to Vista del Lago until a new champion is crowned. With several key players returning, the Eagles figure to be in the mix again, but a lot might depend on if and when senior outside hitter Caroline Sipiora returns to the lineup and at what capacity she will be able to play. Sipiora suffered a major knee injury in February and is hoping to return to the court in October. Will she be the key outside hitter likes she’s been the previous three seasons, or will she be limited to the back row, where she’d still be an asset to the team, but someone would have to step up on the outside? The Eagles bring back key seniors in middle blocker Kendall Moore and libero Jordan Cryderman, junior Kelsey Sampson and sophomore Kara Campbell, both outside hitters. Junior Summer Nichols will replace Sipiora, while sophomore Kaitlin Hughes takes over for Faith Smith at setter, who moved out of the district. Senior middle blockers Hallie Robertson and Brittany Boerstra provide depth, as does sophomore setter/libero Kylie Altman and freshman outside hitter Grace Lemmo. The Eagles opened the season with a fierce battle with Bella Vista in the foundation game on Aug. 27, losing in five games, 14-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-15 and 15-13. Coach Patrick Sanders saw things he liked and things he didn’t. What he didn’t see much of was consistent play, which is to be expected in the team’s first game. “We battled at times, but we made a lot of mental mistakes,” Sanders said. “This was a good experience for us to go five games in the first match. I’m excited where we are and the room that we have to grow.” While his team has several talented players returning, Sanders wasn’t ready after the first game to talk about his expectations for the postseason. “It would be nice if we could make a nice playoff run, but we’re not even thinking about that right now,” Sanders said. “We’re looking to get better each day in practice and with every match. We’re not where we want to be right now, but we’ve got a lot of time to improve.”