By Kristi Speir
Mother Lode News correspondent
It’s been four long years since the Oak Ridge High volleyball team won a match against Del Oro. But with determination and strong leadership in Tuesday’s preseason match, the Trojans got it done decisively — sweeping the Golden Eagles in three straight games, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23. Oak Ridge is now 2-1 on the year.
With only two points deciding each game, Oak Ridge needed focus to capture a victory the seniors won’t soon forget. The lead seesawed continuously through all three games but the Trojans didn’t buckle under the pressure.
Oak Ridge fell behind 15-22 in game one but after two timeouts late in the game, the Trojans rallied back behind Rachael McVicar’s six service points, including two aces. After trading leads with neither team able to put the game away, Oak Ridge senior Haley Simmons took over at the line and iced the win with a pair of aces.
“They think of themselves as underdogs. They have to know they can win,” said coach Becky Potter, who used the timeouts to motivate her team and let the players know they had what it took to win.
Oak Ridge trailed again in game two — at one point behind 5-14. Shaking off frustration, the Trojans battled to regain control. After Del Oro’s Amy Heyn rattled off six services points, Oak Ridge took advantage of a side out and started chipping away and tacking points on the scoreboard. Kills from McVicar and Simmons were the turning point and after a series of service errors from both teams, Troy gutted out the win to go up 2-1 in the match.
Riding a wave of confidence to start the third game, Oak Ridge dominated the Eagles. Del Oro fought to keep it close and stayed within a point or two but the Trojans controlled the game, helped by Arden Zuber’s two timely kills, a key dig and a big block. Late in the game Simmons’ pounding kill forced a side out and sent her to the line where she served for the final two points.
“It is a combination of Rachael being a great server and the alignment of players on her serves,” Potter said, explaining the number of points the Trojans scored while McVicar was on serve. Oak Ridge has worked on different rotations with various players.
Also contributing to the win was Maddie Chambliss, who had 11 digs on the night.
Oak Ridge will be at Granite Bay Sept. 8. The annual Chris Craft tournament is Saturday, Sept. 10.