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Teamwork needed

Togetherness is key to success
By: Matt Long
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After a disappointing loss suffered at the hands of Granite Bay, the Oak Ridge High varsity boys’ volleyball team rebounded with a solid performance in a win over Monterey Trail on Thursday. The Trojans, 6-2 on the season, defeated Monterey Trail 25-18, 25-22 and 26-24. Storm Van Soldt led the Trojans with eight kills, followed by five each by Jack Hoisington and Jonathan Tuttle. Tuttle also chipped in four aces, while Hoisington made eight digs and three blocks. Trent Stigerts and Tim Spykerman also contributed three blocks, while Nate Lambert made seven digs. Connor Dunham led the Trojans with eight assists, while Connor Blakeman had seven. “During the Granite Bay match we didn’t have a lot of teamwork and we can’t play like that against good teams,” Oak Ridge coach Tom Van Der Wende said. “Guys were picking on each other. I saw more teamwork against Monterey Trail; the communication was better. We had six guys talking and that’s always a good thing. We were working better together. We closed out our blocks, served better and just played better.” In a battle of two of the area’s top boys’ volleyball teams, Granite Bay outlasted the Trojans in four games, 25-16, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-20 on March 15. “Honestly, I think (Granite Bay) wanted it a little bit more than we did. They played intense all night long and we were pretty flat. We kept making the same mistakes in every set and we need to get better at adjusting our defense,” said Van Der Wende. Oak Ridge turned up the defensive volume in the third game as Tuttle and Van Soldt began to get big at the net. The Trojans mounted a six-point run of their own to take an 18-14 lead. Tuttle served up two consecutive aces late and the Trojans capped the third game off on a Hoisington kill. “We played a little bit better in the third set and then got a little flat again in the fourth. We started picking each other apart and didn’t play as a team. We got on each other’s case out on the court and that doesn’t help,” Van Der Wende added. “It makes it tough when they keep coming at you with different players and angles. We were transitioning into a slower offense instead of coming back at them with something quick.” Tuttle led the Trojans with 12 kills while adding three blocks. Dunham provided 23 assists for Oak Ridge. After facing Capital Christian on Tuesday, the Trojans participate in the La Jolla Tournament on Thursday through Saturday. “I expect to see good competition at La Jolla, which is one of the main reasons I scheduled that tournament,” Van Der Wende said. “We see a lot of talent up here too, but at least those teams will be different.” Nick Pecoraro contributed to this story.