Oakmont comes back to win first volleyball section title in school history

Vikings overcome two-set deficit to beat two-time defending champ Vista del Lago
By: Brett Ransford
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DAVIS — Oakmont High School’s newest banner will hang a bit higher than some.

The girls volleyball team was down 2-0 and facing a subdued loss in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship against two-time defending champion Vista del Lago.

But the Vikings rallied to take three consecutive sets to win the first volleyball section championship in nearly 50 years of Oakmont history 16-25, 20-25, 27-25, 25-18, 15-4 on Thursday night at the UC Davis Pavilion.

“To leave Oakmont with this legacy is amazing knowing that we’ll be remembered,” captain and senior outside hitter Katie Carte said.

Carte led Oakmont with 25 kills and delivered the Vikings (34-2) from what would have been a dejected three-game sweep. The size of Maura Uebner and Kyra Rogers at the net combined for 20 blocks. The two effectively shut down Vista hitter Kelsey Sampson.

Tears rolled down Uebner’s cheeks. Her mother passed away earlier this year, but she also said they weren’t tears of sadness.

“It’s been a tough season, but I’m just really happy that we won it,” Uebner said. “It’s insane, and it’s just such a great way to finish my senior year. I saw that my dad was crying, too.”

Momentum monumentally shifted in the Vikings’ direction after winning the third set. Uebner had three blocks, one of which gave Oakmont its first lead of the night at 12-11. Rogers’ two blocks were the final two points of the set.

“I’m so excited. I’ve always dreamt of this, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I’m so happy,” Rogers said.

Set four had Oakmont up by nine, and the final set also went handily as Carte threw down six kills.

Three of Oakmont’s 12 players are sophomores. Rogers made the program’s future seem bright as she contributed 11 blocks, four kills and two aces. Sophomore setter Ally Wubben had 30 assists, 17 digs and three blocks.

“It was all nerves,” Wubben said. “I think we were all really nervous, but once that cleared, it was just another game and we played it.”

Oakmont’s run to the section title last experienced a loss Sept. 20 against Division I section runner-up Granite Bay.

Shelby Weinberger has taken the program to two consecutive playoff appearances in two years as Oakmont’s head coach.

“Even with the win Tuesday night, I still don’t think people believed we could do this,” Weinberger said. “In our hearts, we always knew it was possible.”

Five seniors will graduate the program — captains Carte and Brennah Gladwill, plus Emily Larson, Brie Shea and Uebner. But they aren’t done yet.

The Vikings will learn their opponent for the Northern California Regional playoffs this weekend. Oakmont will be host to a match in the first round.