Vista del Lago vanquishes Placer

Eagles sail into semifinals in first playoff trek
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The Vista Del Lago High volleyball team is making this postseason thing look easy. In their first venture into the playoffs, the Eagles soared into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs with a sweep of Placer Thursday night at Earl Crabbe Gym. Vista Del Lago won 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 to end the Hillgals’ season. The Eagles move on to face Sonora on Tuesday. Placer could not find any rhythm in the match. Vista’s tough serving and big blocks along with a slew of errors hurt the Hillgals. “They absolutely outplayed us in every area,” Placer coach Jennifer Wright said. “They took us out of our game. We did not pass the ball well and we weren’t playing good defense.” The Eagles had plenty to do with Placer’ s struggles. Sophomore Caroline Sipiora had eight kills and 20 digs to lead a balanced effort. Sophomore Kelsey Sampson added six kills and sophomore Kendall Moore had six blocks. Senior Premiere Francesca led the Eagles in assists and added five kills. The visitors jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Game 1 and Placer never seemed to recover. Sipiora had two aces in the game. Placer looked better in the second game as junior Gabby Orteza provided a spark with five kills and several diving digs. But Sipiora came up with the game-clinching kill to put Vista up 2-0. Placer struggled at the service line throughout the night, finishing with one ace and six service errors. The Eagles meanwhile finished the match with a dominant Game 3. Placer finished the season 17-10. Sixth-seeded Vista improved to 32-7 on the season. “We were up and down tonight,” Eagles coach Patrick Sanders said. “We definitely did some things well, but there are always things to work on.” Junior Leonard led Placer with nine kills while Orteza added six. Junior Erin Ellner had three kills and one block. Sophomore Kirstin Schauble had Placer’s lone ace of the match. The Hillgals will return the bulk of their squad next season. Emma Oehler and Sarah Francis are the only starters who will not be back. “I’m extremely proud of them,” Wright said of her team. “We were young and I thought they grew a lot and matured. I think the confidence they gained will really help us next year.”