Ripon Christian's first stint through the Southern League has become as routine as bumping, setting and spiking.
In a wild back-and-forth battle, Harpreet Dhaliwal and the under-8 boys Lions prevailed 5-3 over the Sharks in Manteca Area Soccer League play Saturday at Woodward Park.
At the midway point of the Valley Oak League boys soccer season, one team has emerged from what was expected to be a crowded race for the title as the frontrunner.
The big-time players made some big-time plays, but an unlikely hero emerged in Sierra High's 30-28 heart-pumping and much-needed win over persistent East Union Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Weston Ranch mounted spirited comebacks in the first three games, but when intra-district host Sierra High attempted its own in the fourth the Cougars calmly put the finishing touches in their thrilling victory - 25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 25-19.
Manteca High still hasn't gotten over the hump, but coach Tim Horning saw some encouraging things out of his team in a three-game loss - 19-25, 12-25, 18-25 - to Valley Oak League defending champion Sonora Thursday at Winter Gym.
At this point, Ripon High will take goals any way it can get them.
East Union thought it could win its season opener against Beyer at Modesto Junior College Sept. 3.
Mike James isn't buying the hype. Jeff Harbison is.
There were several stretches during Tuesday's Sierra-Manteca volleyball match when the two teams would exchange unforced errors, essentially handing each other free points.
Manteca High set big goals for itself this season but got off to a rough start in non-league play.
RIPON - Hilmar High's grand return to the Trans Valley League wasn't so grand.
Lathrop High proved again Thursday at Sierra that it should not be looked past this year - its first with a senior class - in the Valley Oak League.
They're even. For now.
East Union High remains in step with the Valley Oak League's top two teams, Oakdale and Sonora, following a four-game victory (25-18, 25-17, 24-26, 25-12) over first-year varsity Kimball of Tracy Thursday at Dalben Center.
RIPON - Nothing is coming easy in what is shaping up to be a competitive Southern League boys soccer season.
East Union kept host Weston Ranch on its heels thanks to big serving runs from Jordyn Posz and Destiny Flores.
The weather is expected to cooperate for today's Valley Oak League rematch between Manteca and Central Catholic, which was originally postponed because of rain last Thursday.
Brooke Riley's round didn't end as well as she had hoped during East Union's Valley Oak League dual match at Oakdale Golf and Country Club on Tuesday.
STOCKTON - The blond streak in Esteban Paramo's hair may have started as a personal statement of style, but it's come to symbolize something much bigger.
Sierra played perfect defense from the second minute to the 78th Monday against visiting East Union.
MODESTO - No Montell Bland?
LATHROP - When the going got tough, Kristen Maestretti and the Sierra volleyball team got going Thursday in their Valley Oak League match at Lathrop.
East Union proved Thursday night that it can be a threat in the hunt for Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths, dropping a well-contested four-game loss to visiting Kimball at Dalben Center.
Ripon High's boys water polo team is again short on numbers, and its top player has graduated after leading the program with his scoring prowess in its first four years of existence.
Eric Reis believes his Manteca football team to be the underdog for Friday's Valley Oak League opener at Central Catholic - just the way he likes it.
Could a changing of the guard be in order in the Southern League?
East Union was 40 minutes away from securing a huge Valley Oak League victory on the road Wednesday against Oakdale.
Ripon ended its nonleague schedule strong, as it crushed visiting Tokay of Lodi 25-22, 25-14, 25-15 on Wednesday.
Brooke Riley carded a 1-under 36 on Manteca Park Golf Course's front nine to anchor East Union's tightly-contested 251-256 victory over visiting Kimball on Wednesday.