FROM AUBURN JOURNAL
It’s been its Waterloo for the past three years: the Section semifinals, where the Placer volleyball team has fallen.
It’s been at least at the back of the players’ minds this year, the quest to finally clear that hurdle. Some of them have been here for all three disappointing endings.
Uh, yeah. So much for that.
Adam Ziegler opened Tuesday’s semifinal at Placer High against Burbank with eight straight service points, and the Hillmen rolled to a 25-11, 25-18, 25-17 victory in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Div. II playoffs.
“It’s great for our program,” coach Andrew Klem said. “The last three years, this is where we’ve ended our season. It’s great for the school, and it’d be really nice to bring (a section title) home.”
They’re one match away from doing that, with only three-seed Rio Americano standing in their way.
“The kids have worked so hard. They’re looking good, strong, and they like playing together,” Klem said. “I honestly believe our team is the best in Div. II.”
It’s hard to argue with him. The top-ranked Hillmen have rolled in the playoffs, taking down Merced (25-12, 25-10, 25-17) and now Burbank in dominant fashion.
With the win, Placer also qualified for next week’s NorCal Championships.
In volleyball, when matches are so one-sided, it can be hard for even players on the winning team to stand out. There just aren’t enough points for counting stats to accumulate.
Even so, senior star Taylor Ittner shined, Klem said, with seven aces on the night.
Klem also said sophomore Jarod Robles, who was recently inserted into an outside hitter slot, played well.
“He’s not the biggest,” Klem said, “but he jumps up really high and is able to put the ball away.”
Actually, that’s not much of a problem for the Hillmen.
“We know we can hit the ball,” Klem said. “It’s just a matter of playing good defense, getting good coverage on blockers and their hitters.”
Safe to say, their defense has been just fine so far.