SACRAMENTO — From the start of its first game until the completion of its second, the Oak Ridge High volleyball team played solidly across the board Monday night against host St. Francis.
Unfortunately for the Lady Trojans, the Troubadours won the Delta River League finale in straight sets 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 to deny Oak Ridge (8-2, 21-15) the chance to share the title with St. Francis (10-0, 31-2). Both of Troy’s league losses were at the hands of the Troubadours.
Oak Ridge head coach Becky Potter felt her team’s performance against intra county and league rival Ponderosa last week was the turning point to step up in the final two matches. The Trojans defeated both the Lady Bruins and Pleasant Grove 3-0 prior to Monday’s match to decide the conference.
“We played St. Francis much more consistent,” Potter said. “I think we felt, tonight, we had a chance. It may not have shown in the scores, but this was just a night they just let go and played.”
In the first game, the Troubadours jumped out to a 4-1 lead but Oak Ridge rallied behind two aces from setter Tara McDermott to trim the deficit to 4-3. St. Francis continued to build its lead, never more than four points, before the Trojans took an 18-17 lead when freshman Emily DeMure served an ace. Rallying behind the play of Gabriella Palmeri, Hannah Liserra and Loni Kreun, the Troubadours still took the opening set.
In the second set, St. Francis also jumped out to a 4-1 lead but Oak Ridge came back to tie the match at 5-all. Though Troy forged in front four different times they still trailed 2-0 with title hopes starting to fade.
Oak Ridge never led but came within two points early in a third set that was all Troubadours.
“St. Francis just took off,” Potter said. “Great serving. They dug everything we were trying to hit at them.”
The Sac-Joaquin Section is scheduled to release playoff pairings on its Website (cifsjs.org) tomorrow. Potter said her team is ready for the post-season party.
“I think we have a good shot of getting the top four,” Potter said. “Our goal is section finals and I think this is a team that can get there. They have the heart, they have the drive. As long as we can execute long rallies, I think we’ll be good.”
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.