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EU sweeps rivals for 4th win in a row

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East Union High's Brittany LaMar blasts a shot past the blocks of Manteca's Brittina Burch (6) and Breanne Hatfield during Thursday's Valley Oak League-opening match at Dalben Center.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED September 17, 2010 3:13 a.m.
To be more competitive in the Valley Oak League this season, East Union High coach Eryn Bowers has encouraged competition from within.

“Every day is like a tryout,” she said. “You have to be ready roll to get a starting spot.”

That has the Lancers playing inspired volleyball these days, and that was evident in their Valley Oak League-opening sweep (25-16, 25-18, 25-18) of rival Manteca at Dalben Center Thursday.

It’s still early, but East Union (1-0, 4-2) appears primed to make its first run at a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth in Bowers’ fourth year as coach after going 5-9 in league last season. Thursday’s win was EU’s fourth straight.

“We have a couple new girls on the team and they’re really good, so if we want playing time we have to step up and be as good as them,” senior middle blocker Brittany LaMar said. “The competition has definitely made us better.”

LaMar led East Union with five kills and three blocks, and she seemed to come through every time the team needed her to. During one hotly-contested stretch late in the second game, LaMar scored with a spike from the back row, a kill from the front and a tip for three straight East Union points and an 18-14 lead.

“Brittany has been with us for three years,” Bowers said. “She’s a captain and a leader on this team. She always comes with a fire in her belly, ready to rock and roll.”

Starla Beltran, one of EU’s newcomers, did most of her damage from the service line with four aces. Lexy Posz finished with five digs to lead the team, and setter Taylor Maruca turned in eight assists.

“It was just a matter of hard work in practice and finding the right chemistry on the court,” Bowers said.

“The girls are finally jelling. Over the summer everyone was doing a thousand different things, so we weren’t able to get everyone together at once.

“But now the focus is there, and the girls are starting to realize that they can do it.”

Brittina Burch was inserted into the starting lineup for Manteca and the move paid dividends, as she led the attack with three kills. Lacey Silva had 10 digs, and Tara Dadasovich contributed eight assists to go with three aces.

But it was otherwise a lackluster showing for the Buffaloes (0-1, 1-5), who were unable to sustain any type of consistency in all facets of the game.

In Game 2, Burch pounded out two of her kills in succession to tie it at 18, but East Union rallied for seven unanswered points, mostly off unforced errors on Manteca’s end.

The third game ended in similar fashion. Breanne Hatfield’s kill kept the Buffaloes in it late as they tried to further shrink a 21-17 deficit. Two straight hitting errors and a free ball that sailed wide essentially gift-wrapped the Lancers match point.

East Union clinched the win when a Manteca player was whistled for a passing violation.

“I made a decision to switch up the middles, and I don’t think it hurt us — Brittina played well,” Manteca coach Tim Horning said. “What hurt us was that we just made too many mistakes. But hand it to (East Union), they didn’t let us put anything on the floor.

“They were moving our feet and outplayed us defensively.”

East Union 2, Manteca 0
Kayla Lamont anchored East Union’s 25-21, 25-12 sweep with 21 assists. Also key for the Lancers (1-0, 6-2) were Alex Scopas’ eight digs, Jill Costa’s two blocks, Alexis Steele’s four kills and Regina Dias’ four aces.

Manteca (0-1, 1-5) was led by Jasmine Odell and Julia Martinez, who each hammered three kills. Samantha Davis handed out eight assists, while Samantha Bradford and Jessica Munoz chipped in three and two aces, respectively.
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