Manteca High coach Tim Horning sat at the end of the bench, head buried into his hands while his players settled into their seats on the other end of the court between the second and third games.
WESTON RANCH – This Valley Oak League season had been full of firsts for the Weston Ranch Cougars, and if the season were to end today they would be in first-place. But the team's business is far from done, as it took a gigantic step towards their goal with a 3-2 win over Sierra High Tuesday.
Ripon Christian's first stint through the Southern League has become as routine as bumping, setting and spiking.
The Southern League has not treated its newest member too kindly, as the Ripon Christian Knights ran into another one-sided defeat, 8-1 against visiting Gustine Tuesday.
The Manteca High cross-country team made a trip to the coast for the 39th Annual Half Moon Bay Artichoke Cross Country Invitational Saturday, competing against several programs at Half Moon Bay High.
After getting pushed round in two losses to start the match, East Union held a five-point lead with five points to go but couldn't finish the deal in a 3-0 loss to the visiting Oakdale Mustangs Thursday at the Dalben Center.
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 went to work on the Old River Golf Course front nine, beating the Jaguars 220-330 in their Valley Oak League meeting Thursday.
The East Union High varsity girls golf squad improved to 7-0 in the Valley Oak League, defeating Sonora Wednesday at the Manteca Park Golf Course.
East Union High varsity boys soccer squad maintained its first-place hold Wednesday in the Valley Oak League by blanking Sonora, 3-0.
MODESTO – The Sierra High varsity girls cross country team led the pack at Wednesday's Valley Oak League meet at Legion Park.
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.
RIPON – It may have taken the Ripon Christian Knights a little longer than planned, but the squad's 5-0 Southern League victory over Turlock Christian Tuesday came at the perfect time.
Ripon Christian got back on track Tuesday with a 4-1 win at Waterford.
LATHROP - East Union was relentless in the attacking third during the first half, pressuring the Lathrop defense into mistakes with precision passing and outstanding individual play.
Missed opportunities and defensive breakdowns kept Sierra from gaining at least a point in the Valley Oak League standings Monday.
Ripon High's girls golf team placed second among North Division teams in the Valley Foothill League Mid-Year Tournament, which was held Monday at Micke Grove Golf Course in Lodi.
Alyssa Burch and the rest of the Manteca High volleyball team couldn't mask their excitement after notching the clinching point.
Escalon had a score to settle with Ripon on Thursday as the two met in a showdown of undefeated teams in the Valley Foothill League's North Division.
Travis Vander Molen found the back of the net twice as the Ripon Christian boys soccer team nearly erased a three-goal deficit in a 5-3 loss to visiting Delhi on Thursday.
The Weston Ranch girls tennis team played its most competitive match of the season in a 5-4 loss to East Union on Thursday.
It was a three-person race for low-medalist honors at Manteca Park Golf Course on Wednesday, where cross-town opponents Manteca and Sierra met for a pivotal Valley Oak League dual match.
Ripon dominated visiting Lodi in a three-game sweep (25-10, 25-14, 25-17) Wednesday.
The Manteca High girls cross country team has some work to do if it wants to keep its spot on the Valley Oak League throne.
RIPON - Despite an aggressive first half, Ripon Christian found itself down by a goal at halftime against visiting Le Grand, the defending Southern League champion.
East Union's girls tennis team relied on its depth to upend visiting Kimball on Tuesday.
The Manteca High girls golf team overcame a strong effort form Oakdale's Dylanie Donahue in a 287-297 victory at Manteca Park Golf Course on Tuesday.
No other Manteca-area volleyball team had a busier pre-league schedule than East Union, a young squad that second-year head coach Rich Posz hopes gained some valuable experience in the last three weeks.