Falcons in the hunt for more

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Erica Heikila doesn’t mind that her Colfax High volleyball team isn’t getting much hype early this season, even if the Falcons are quietly off to an excellent start. The Colfax High senior believes the Falcons may be ready to return to their perch atop the Pioneer Valley League after three seasons looking up at the champions. “I don’t think anyone expected much from this group,” Heikila said. “This was going to be a building year, but right now it really looks like we could go far.” After 22 years of coaching solo, Vicky Satterlee is sharing the sideline this season. Jason Cole is helping out with the team, bringing a load of experience from club volleyball as well as his time with the Placer boys’ program. “I think having Jason here has taken it to a whole new level,” Satterlee said. “We’re doing college-level training. In the beginning it was a little overwhelming, but the girls have settled into it and I love having him here.” Cole has a lot of talent to work with in Colfax. Heikila can play just about any position on the floor, excelling at right-side hitter. Junior Iona Lofrano is coming off of an all-Pioneer Valley League season as an outside hitter and the 5-11 hitter is a force. Cole calls Haley Biles one of the top setters in the area. Her backup is her freshman sister Lindsey Biles. “It was always her dream to play with me on varsity and it came true,” Haley said. Senior Kassidy Gutierrez brings athleticism and experience to the back row. Kelsey Whittet has been a pleasant surprise with her play at outside hitter this season and junior Ashley Scott is contributing on defense. Samantha Hall and Michelle Wells have also played well on defense. Among the youngsters that are making their mark on the varsity squad are freshman Maddi Ittner and sophomore Kelly Harris. The Falcons’ defense has been a major focus in pre-season training and Gutierrez said the hard work is paying off. “Our training started earlier this year and I think our defense has gotten a lot better because of it,” Gutierrez said. “I feel like a lot of people didn’t expect us to be this good at this time of the year.” Colfax finished 12-8 overall last season and fell to Orestimba in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. The Falcons were second to Placer in the PVL at 10-2 and expect to battle with the Hillgals for the league’s top spot again this season. Satterlee believes the Falcons are capable of doing damage in the playoffs after bowing out early the last few years. “We want to go to sections and do well. That’s our goal,” Satterlee said.