Top-seeded Tigers earn section title rematch against Wildcats
ROSEVILLE vs. WHITNEY
What: 2017 CIF-SJS Boys Volleyball Championship
When: Saturday, May 20 at 6 p.m.
Where: Whitney High School
701 Wildcat Blvd in Rocklin
Tickets: $10 for adults; $6 for students; children five & under are free.
Roseville’s boys volleyball team is hoping the old saying holds true this weekend.
If the third time really is the charm, then the Tigers are bound for a record-setting weekend as they enter their third-straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section title game thanks to a 3-0 sweep over Nevada Union at home Tuesday night.
The team’s first-year coach, Marco Salcedo is cautiously optimistic that his squad can take its postseason dominance and Tuesday night’s success into Saturday’s title game and emerge victorious with the school’s first championship.
“I’m hoping this is the start of a good run for us,” Salcedo admitted. “We’ve got confidence going forward and I’m hoping that keeps growing. Plus, we had a good crowd (Tuesday) and I know that’s going to get bigger as we keep winning.”
Despite a tight opening set against the Miners in the semifinals this week, the Tigers quickly took control of the match and showcased their dominance en route to 25-17, 25-9 and 25-11 wins and a second-straight postseason sweep.
Tuesday’s victory was the second for Salcedo against his former program, which he created 14 years ago in Grass Valley, after the teams met in a mid-season tournament in Las Vegas.
“I’m proud of how many fans they brought down — it’s good to see the program, which I worked so hard to build for so many years, still flourishing,” Salcedo acknowledged. “They’ve got a great team, and that was nice to see.”
In front of a packed student section, Salcedo’s squad proved why they are the No. 1 ranked team in the section, according to MaxPreps. After blowing open the first set and claiming an eight-point win, the Tigers roared to two double-digit wins to cap the sweep.
But Salcedo wasn’t the only one squaring off against his old team.
Senior Teven Painter, who transferred to Roseville this past offseason, had the chance to take on his former team as well.
“There’s always going to be tension and there’s always going to be people talking, but it felt great to beat them,” Painter admitted. “We’re a disciplined team, so we shut them down late in that first set and got on a roll.”
The Tigers showed the ability to adjust in real time, countering Nevada Union’s early strategic success to regain control and run away with the match.
“They came out really energetic and positive in that first game, but we were able to weather the storm,” senior setter Zach Mancha explained. “We were able to pick up on what they were doing and exploit that.”
The team now has 48-straight set wins against section opponents as they enter their biggest match of the season.
Roseville will face CVC foe Whitney Saturday evening in the Wildcats home gym — a location that was determined prior to the team’s qualification.
No. 6 Whitney earned their spot in the title game after claiming a pair of 5-set wins over Jesuit in the quarterfinals last Thursday and Del Oro in the semifinals Tuesday night.
“We’ve played them twice and swept them both times, so we already know what to expect from them,” Mancha pointed out.
Roseville had no problem dismissing Whitney either time during the regular season, but the team has lost to the Wildcats in the section title game before.
The Tigers dropped a five-set match to the ‘Cats back in 2015, before falling in five sets to Granite Bay in the championship last year.
Salcedo is hoping this year proves different.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Salcedo pointed out. “We have to take care of business and worry about ourselves and what we’re doing. We can’t let all of the hype and all of the other stuff associated with this game get in our way.”
The veteran coach knows his team can find success if they are able to put pressure on their opponents with aggressive serving and smart defense.
“All we worry about is what we have to do on our side, which is tough serving and strong defense,” he explained. “Our offense will come because we’ve got great hitters, but when our serving is on, like it was (Tuesday), we’re tough to beat. As long as we keep doing what we’re doing, good things will happen.”
With the location of Saturday’s match being so close to home, both squads expect strong support for the game, and Salcedo expects the Tiger Cage to be rocking.
Tickets to the title game costs $10 for adults, $6 for students and children five and under are free.