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Trojan volleyball team to battle Rocklin tonight for spot in final

By: Matt Long
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The Sac-Joaquin Section volleyball finals will be played at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Jesuit and Oak Ridge hopes to be one of the participants. The Trojans, 31-6 on the season, face Rocklin, also 31-6, Tuesday night in one semi-final, while Granite Bay and Ponderosa matched-up on the other side of the bracket, the winners to play for the title on Thursday. While the Thunder, playing at home, are the favorite to beat Oak Ridge, Trojan coach Tom Van Der Wende feels his team could win the match. “We played them early in the season (and lost 3-0), but we’re a completely different team now, as I’m sure they are too,” Van Der Wende said. “We don’t have the same lineup as we did at the beginning of the season and we weren’t as aggressive as we are now. I think we’ve got a shot, but we have to play strong defense and keep the ball in play against them. It will be a good battle.” Oak Ridge defeated Oakmont and Del Oro to reach the semi-finals, defeating both teams in four games. “Oakmont wasn’t the strongest team, but we played pretty well against them,” Van Der Wende said. “Del Oro was a much stronger team and we played good ball, but not our best. We’ll have to play a lot better to beat Rocklin.” In the semi-finals on Thursday, Oak Ridge got by Del Oro in four games, 21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-23. After dropping the first game, the Trojans rallied to take the next three. “After that first game we weren’t focusing, but come the second and third our intensity picked up and it carried us through to the end,” said Van Soldt.