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Trojans sweep Eagles in three games

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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An old rivalry sparked a bang-bang, kill-kill Senior Night for the Oak Ridge Trojans volleyball team, sending the Vista del Lago Eagles away in three games and only their second loss in April, 25-17, 32-30, 25-23. The Eagles’ season has been a story of domination for a roster of only eight players. Against the Trojans the second time this season, Oak Ridge now owns both matches in the minimum six games. All three games were battles Thursday night in the Oak Ridge gymnasium, and that says a lot for a Vista team with less total players than seniors for the Trojans. Game one had Vista up 13-12, but an Eagles timeout separated one Oak Ridge four-point run from another, transferring the Trojans on top 20-14. Vista earned one point in the final stretch that was not on an Oak Ridge mistake – a kill from hitter Sam Mills. Aside from Senior Night honors for Oak Ridge fans, the highlight of the night was arguably game two’s extra rallies after Vista pushed a 24-24 tie. With Vista down 21-13, Mills, and sophomore Connor Tevenan led the team to a 17-9 run only to lose under the kills of Jonathan Tuttle. Tuttle posted six kills in the game, three in that final nine-point end. It took seven tie scores to reach Tuttle’s brutal 31-30 kill and an eventual, also questionable line call to escape the Trojans from a fourth game. The call was not without some Vista groans. Game three remained even through the first 20 points. The last tie was at 18-18 and four of the last seven points were missed hits, blocks or sets by Vista. Kills from Dustin Lamy, Mills and Tevenan kept it close, 24-23, but Oak Ridge’s Tim Spykerman had the kill to kill them all. Both teams are headed to section playoffs – Oak Ridge still with positioning to fight for, Vista having terrorized the Sierra Valley Conference an unbeaten 11-0. Beating Jesuit (6-0 Delta River League) would make Oak Ridge co-champions of the DRL at 6-1 apiece. Jesuit and Oak Ridge then have final league games after the meeting and Trojan coach Tom Van Der Wende said he hopes to have that number one seed. “This was a big night for us,” said Van Der Wende. “All three games got a little crazy. I tried to get my seniors in as much as possible, so it was sort of a hodgepodge lineup at times. It gave everyone a chance to play, but that last game was all seniors only.” Team libero Nathan Lambert gave up the white jersey, tossed on his blue and made a couple kills in the last game. Whether the smile on his face was bigger than the crowd reaction was arguable. Oak Ridge has to fight for their playoff spot, but at Vista del Lago and around the SVC the Eagles have clearly established a hierarchy. Head coach Wayne Campbell and his eight-player roster have lost two games in 11 league matches, all of which were wins. “[Against Oak Ridge] it was nip and tuck all the way to the end,” said Campbell. “A play here or there could have made the difference. Frankly I’ll be disappointed if we don’t reach the section finals. We’ve had a tough non-conference schedule and played some of the teams we’ll see in sections, so I think we match up really well with any team in Division II. We’ve had nine losses, but they’re all to really strong teams.” Mills is a junior, but captains Campbell’s team as they face Highlands to wrap up their regular season, 22-9 overall so far. Contributions came all over the place against Oak Ridge, including a handful of kills from nearly all players on the floor through three games. Game Notes Oak Ridge honored their 10 seniors prior to the match start. In order of announcement they were: Nathan Lambert, headed to Brigham Young University. Christopher Gomm, head to BYU-Idaho. Connor Dunham, planning to transfer to University of California, Santa Cruz. Tim Spykerman, to Azusa Pacific University. Alex Gavin, to junior college before beginning a career in the military. Connor Blakeman, to the University of Nevada at Reno. Michael and Luke Whitcomb, both to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Jack Hoisington, to Folsom Lake College. Jonathon Tuttle, to California Baptist University.