Trojans struggle at Granite Bay tourney

By: Matt Long
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Things didn’t go as planned for Oak Ridge at the Brian Nolan Tournament at Granite Bay on Saturday. The Trojans, 17-5 on the season, had hoped to at least contend, if not win, the tournament, but instead split two of their four matches, being eliminated by Los Gatos, 25-21 and 25-23, in the quarterfinals. Oak Ridge won its first two matches, beating Elk Grove and Nevada Union, but then lost a pair of close games to De La Salle, the second-ranked team in the state, according to Oak Ridge coach Tom Van Der Wende. “We would have liked to beat them, but lost two close games, something like 25-20 and 25-23,” said Van Der Wende, who didn’t have the scores in front of him. “We were up and down all day; we just didn’t play terrific. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t play as well as we did in Southern California. I was hoping that would carry over to this weekend but it didn’t.” Van Der Wende said the one positive from Saturday’s tournament was that middle blocker Trent Stigerts was selected to the all-tournament team. “Trent played outstanding offensively and defensively,” Van Der Wende said. The Trojans only play one match this week, at home against Jesuit on Thursday. “We’re going to continue to work on our defense and our offense in practice,” Van Der Wende said. “Team chemistry will always be key for us so we will work to continue to gel and rely on each other.” Oak Ridge is coming off a strong week in which they easily defeated Delta River League opponents Ponderosa and Sheldon by way of three-game sweeps. The archrival Bruins proved to be no problem on Thursday, as Oak Ridge won three competitive matches 25-17, 25-18 and 25-20. Jonathan Tuttle had 13 kills to lead the team, which several of Connor Dunham’s 19 assists coming his way. Nate Lambert had 11 digs, while Jack Hoisington and Mike Whitcomb each made two blocks.