Oakmont players need only look to the sideline for excitement.
The competitive nature of their coach is fueling the Vikings this season. Under second-year coach Shelby Weinberger, No. 7 Oakmont (23-2) is off to the school's best start since 2005, when the Vikings finished 26-5 and undefeated in the Pioneer League.
As a coach who is constantly moving up and down the sideline, Weinberger acknowledges her enthusiasm is a little out there, but it is also contagious.
"I am a very competitive coach," Weinberger said. "I have a lot of passion for what I do. I am not the type of coach that just sits down and coaches. I am up on the sidelines the whole time.
"My girls make fun of me for it because they get excited, and that's why I get so excited and I am jumping up and down. I try and bring the energy and excitement I want from them."
That energy is also fed by the Vikings' two biggest focuses this season: an early exit from the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs last season and togetherness the Vikings lacked last year.
"We wanted to continue building on last year," Weinberger said. "This year, the girls understand that the responsibilities are a little more divvied up vs. last year, when we really relied on maybe one or two people."
The Vikings, 21-14 in 2011, were ousted by Capital Valley Conference foe Christian Brothers in the second round of the Division III section playoffs.
Last Monday, Oakmont beat Christian Brothers 3-0. The Vikings, according to Weinberger, feel they are one of the top teams in the league entering tonight's match against No. 4 Bella Vista in Fair Oaks.
"For a lot years, it was just sort of, 'OK, we are just there and doing our thing,' but this year is their year to do something," Weinberger said.
Led by senior captains Brennah Gladwill and Katie Carte, Oakmont routinely uses a strong core of six to seven players. Against Christian Brothers last week, the Vikings played only six, which Weinberger said probably will continue against the Broncos.
With fellow seniors Emily Larson and Maura Uebner and sophomores Kyra Rogers and Ally Wubben, Oakmont thrives on everyone chipping in.
"We have split the responsibilities," Weinberger said. "Everyone is holding their own, and everyone understands that they have a job to do when they are on the court. It's not just one person to play great defense. Everyone has to step up."
Wubben, ranked 14th in the section in assists per game (7.2), is in her first year on the varsity.
"She is one of those girls that could play any position on the court," Weinberger said. "She is a fantastic server and hitter and a very smart player."
Oakmont's only losses this season have come to No. 11 Bear River during the Red Bluff tournament on Sept. 15 and to No. 3 Granite Bay.
Rankings shake-up With league action at least one week in throughout the section, rivalries are heating up.
No. 6 Del Oro beat No. 9 Rocklin 3-1 last week, and the Thunder beat No. 16 Roseville in the always-tough Sierra Foothill League.
Previously, Franklin fell 3-1 to No. 19 Elk Grove. Whitney, with one of the area's toughest schedules, fell to No. 3 Granite Bay 3-0.
No. 13 Davis will get its toughest test this week, when it plays at No. 17 Monterey Trail on Tuesday.
THE BEE'S TOP 20
PR Previous ranking
School W-L PR
1. St. Francis 21-1 1
2. El Camino 15-3 2
3. Granite Bay 23-3 3
4. Bella Vista 21-3 4
5. Oak Ridge 13-7 5
6. Del Oro 17-4 6
7. Oakmont 23-2 10
8. Christian Bros. 11-9 7
9. Rocklin 19-8 8
10. Placer 15-2 9
11. Bear River 18-8 11
12. Rio Americano 15-6 12
13. Davis 15-6 12
14. Vista del Lago 10-6 19
15. Nevada Union 13-12 14
16. Roseville 19-14 16
17. Monterey Trail 13-7 17
18. Golden Sierra 11-8 18
19. Elk Grove 15-6
20. Whitney 9-10 20