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Rocklin sweeps Oak Ridge in three games

By: Matt Long
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Rocklin High’s varsity girls’ volleyball team made it look easy on Thursday night, beating a pretty good Oak Ridge team in three straight games, 25-16, 25-21 and 25-17. The Thunder, 10-0 on the season, came out and played well from the start, never giving Oak Ridge a chance in the first game. The Lady Trojans played better in the second game and gave the Thunder a competitive game, but Rocklin finished them off in the third. Rocklin coach Dave Muscarella was happy to win the match, but saw some things he wasn’t pleased with. “I thought in the first game we played really well, but in the second and third games, our back row didn’t play as well and there were things that we could have done better,” Muscarella said. “The one nice thing about this group, though, is that we’ve got consistent passing and serve-receive and we’ve got a lot of kids who can put the ball down. We don’t just rely on one person. “I don’t care so much about the undefeated record; I just want to play well. If we play well and lose, I’m fine with that.” Oak Ridge is off to a slow start, as the loss dropped them to a 4-4 on the season. The team has been hampered by inconsistent play and also has had trouble winning points. “We have a hard time putting the ball away,” Oak Ridge coach Becky Potter said. “We’ve had go-to players in the past like Kaleigh Durket and Kayla Berringer to put the ball down and we’re waiting for players to emerge this year. “Also, we’re not mentally tough yet. We have trouble finishing off a match and even a point at times. Those things will come, though.” Rocklin led 8-5 in the first game, but then reeled off seven straight points, mostly on Oak Ridge errors and consistent serves from Katelyn Ivy, to take a 15-5 lead and cruised to the 25-16 win. Oak Ridge played better in the second game, led by strong play in the middle from Haley Simmons, whose kill at the end of the longest, most exciting rally of the night tied the game at 17. Later a Simmons block and an ace on a serve by Kirsten Burkland had Oak Ridge in control with momentum at 21-19. After a well-timed Rocklin timeout, however, the Thunder scored the next six points to win the match. Olivia Lane and Erin Davis started the rally with a pair of kills and later Lane picked up a big block to give the Thunder a 23-21 lead. Oak Ridge errors on the final two points finished the game. Rocklin pulled away midway through the third game, taking an 18-8 lead and then went on to win the final game by eight. Potter said libero Maddie Chambliss and setter Nikki Haggard played well in defeat, as they made the changes during the match that she asked them to. So far early in the season, the Lady Trojans have been hampered by inconsistent play. “That’s our motto right now, inconsistent play,” Potter said. “It’s frustrating because I’ve seen how well we can play.”