Class of their leagues: Truckee football, volleyball begin quests for three-peats

Sylas WrightSierra Sun
File photoSenior quarterback Pat Shaffer and the Truckee football team will take on Fernley in the opening round of the Northern 3A playoffs Saturday at Surprise Stadium.

TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; It’s a playoff weekend in Truckee, as the Wolverines’ two-time defending state champs andamp;#8212; yes, both of them andamp;#8212; earned the right to host Northern 3A postseason contests.The top-seeded Truckee volleyball team out of the Mount Rose League pod will open the Class 3A Northern Region Playoffs with a home match against second-seeded Fernley of the Lahontan League on Friday at 6 p.m.The following day the Truckee football team, also seeded No. 1, will look to run its three-year win streak to 34 games when it hosts sixth-seeded Fernley at 1 p.m.Truckee’s volleyball squad, at 20-9 overall and 9-1 in league play, will look to get back on the winning track after losing its only league match at South Tahoe to end the regular season last Friday.andamp;#8220;Last week’s match was our third for the week, which showed to be a lot for the girls,andamp;#8221; said Truckee head coach Erika Murphy. andamp;#8220;We started off very slow in that match and our warm-up was weak.andamp;#8221;Murphy said the Wolverines went back to the basics this week at practice and redesigned their defense to better match their competition in the Vaqueros. If the Wolverines win the match, they advance to the 3A State Championship tournament the following week in Las Vegas.andamp;#8220;If the ladies communicate and eliminate unforced errors, then we will packing for state,andamp;#8221; Murphy said.Truckee is led by a large cast of skilled players. According to high school website, senior outside hitter Reiswig posted a team-high 212 kills during the regular season (3.2 per game), while senior middle blocker Kiersten Knoppel tallied 175 kills and sophomore Mackenzie Redner 101.Senior outside hitter Kaylee Lewis posted a team-high 23 blocks for the Wolverines, while Knoppel led in serving percentage, with a 94.6 success rate, senior libero Katie Mohun led with 140 digs, and senior setter Brittany Thomas had a team-high 518 assists.Fernley enters the match 15-16 overall and 4-6 in league. Brooke Mattice collected 118 kills to lead the Vaqueros attack, while Kelsey Walsh finished with 97 kills and Taylor Thomas had 92 kills and a team-high 33 blocks. Amy Kingsbury led the Vaqueros in serving, with a 98.7 percent success rate, Mattice had 54 digs to lead the team, and Jordan King had 309 assists.In the other two Northern 3A postseason series, Fallon (No. 1 Lahontan) hosts Lowry (No. 2. Ruby Mountain) and Elko (No. 1 Ruby Mountain) hosts South Tahoe (No. 2 Mount Rose). Winners move on to state. Truckee’s football team is in uncharted territory in the school’s rich history of success. Last year’s group became the first Truckee team to win back-to-back state titles in undefeated fashion, going 24-0 in that two-year span. And they’ve picked up right where they left off in 2011, despite losing a good chunk of last year’s core,The Wolverines enter Saturday’s home playoff game a perfect 9-0 on the season, and 8-0 in league play after yet another year of sweeping through the Northern 3A’s regular season andamp;#8212; their fifth consecutive year pulling off the feat.They’ll face a Fernley team that finished 3-5 in league to earn the sixth playoff seed from the North. Truckee won the regular-season meeting, 56-19, back on Sept. 30, but not without having to first figure out the Vaqueros’ potent offense led by quarterback Kenny Bradley, as the teams traded touchdowns through the first quarter of play.Bradley ranks third in the Northern 3A, behind Truckee senior quarterback Pat Shaffer, with 1,421 yards and 12 touchdowns on 119-of-236 passing. Shaffer has completed 89 of his 151 throws for 1,532 yards and 14 TDs. Shaffer has six interceptions on the year to Bradley’s seven.Both have capable skill men, as Truckee senior Trevor Auldridge ranks fourth in the league with 418 yards on 25 catches, while Fernley’s Tim Klotz is second with 576 yards on 44 receptions. Truckee senior tight end Braden Waters ranks fifth with 384 yards on just 14 catches.At running back, Truckee is led by junior Jake Pettit, who’s gained 766 yards on 70 carries, and junior Tyler Curtis, who has 458 yards on 65 carries. Fernley’s Jeremy Ruiz, who ran for 137 yards and a touchdown against Truckee this year, ranks fifth in the Northern 3A with 988 yards on 149 rushes.Truckee always takes pride in its defense, and this year is no different. Auldridge is second in the league with five interceptions, while senior lineman Max Collinson ranks fifth with five sacks. Junior linebacker Erik Holmer leads the Wolverines in tackles, with 55.Truckee senior linebacker and fullback Cole Roberts has been out with an injured hamstring since the last meeting with Fernley. Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer said last week that Roberts was still nursing the injury and that he was questionable for Saturday’s game.

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