Valley Christian wants to feed on its first volleyball league title

By: Brett Ransford
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High school girls volleyball has taken to the net for a new season. Roseville-area teams have slipped on the kneepads and are jumping into league play ready to revisit rivalries. From the Sierra Foothill League, Roseville and Granite Bay made it through one round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs last season. From the Sacramento Metro Athletic League, Valley Christian finished at a lofty 19-3 but was knocked out in the first round of the Division V playoffs by eventual champion Ripon Christian. Valley Christian assistant coach Chris Patterson said that even with fewer than 80 students at the school, the eight-person roster has few weaknesses. “Maria has done an outstanding job getting them ready for a long and successful season,” Patterson said, referring to head coach Maria Hill. “We'll see how the season goes, but I think Valley is poised to make a huge run this year.” Patterson said expectations are nothing short of winning what would be the school’s first league title, and the Lions are off to a good start, having won all five matches while losing just one game. Seniors Sam Shoemake, Carly Gish, Midori Bounds and PresLeigh Sinerius will be tasked with bringing home the trophy. Bounds was the early team leader in kills, Sinerius in digs and Heather Frank in assists. The restructure of SFL contenders promises some serious matches. Coach Jamie Ingram and Granite Bay have managed an 11-6 preseason. SFL play begins Sept. 30 at Nevada Union (8-3), which won seven consecutive Division I section crowns before losing to Oak Ridge in the final last year. Granite Bay graduated key players Karli Pedone and Rachelle Kinney. Jennifer Ohlson, Sheralyn Johnson and Allison Cook will be tasked with returning their team to the playoffs. Roseville won 15 of its first 16 matches last season, including a three-match streak to start the SFL before losing to Granite Bay. Ron Grove coached the Tigers to a 24-8 overall record, including a 3-2 loss at St. Francis in the second round of the playoffs. Team co-MVP Jessica Richardson, libero Hilary Coy and captains Simone Durham and Kali Lauhon return. “We have our work cut out for us,” Grove said. “Being tall and hitting well is one of our strengths. We also have 10 seniors on the team and a lot of athleticism.” While Woodcreek doesn’t lack in athleticism, the Timberwolves are coming off a 1-18-1 season. But coach Brian Jew has seven returning seniors, and Woodcreek has started this season 1-4. Jew said his team’s strength is serving and that seniors Sarah Peterson and Brook Peiler are players to count on for consistency. Oakmont is making the transition into the Capital Valley Conference. Coach Rachael Ramsey begins her second season with the Vikings, who are 2-6 this season after going 14-14 in 2009. All-star Maddie Lozano has graduated to the University of Arizona, but the Vikings return seniors Sabrina Ali, Lyndsie Moore, Jasmine Hodge and Jenn Diver.