Entering a season with at least a portion of the past three Valley Oak League championships, and four of the past five, would usually make the defending champs the odds-on-favorite to close the season with another one. But the dominance the East Union Lancers have held over their VOL counterparts will hold little merit as the league season gets underway Tuesday for the nine VOL girls basketball programs.
The perception around these parts is that Manteca rules the high school football scene, Sierra reigns in soccer and the softball crown rests on the heads of the Lancers of East Union.
History was made. Dreams were realized. Others were crushed.
WALNUT CREEK - Sierra High's wrestling team brought just 11 athletes to the Bill Martell Tournament Wednesday, but that was enough for it to leave its mark in its final tune-up for the Valley Oak League season.
The 5th Annual Lady Lancer Tournament at East Union High Wednesday lasted just 4 ½ hours.
SONORA – Sierra High will open up the 2010 Valley Oak League season with a visit from the Sonora Wildcats, so the Timberwolves' 52-47 win in the third-place game of the Dominick Fuchs Classic helped Sierra close out the preseason in the best possible way.
RIPON – When the Oakdale Mustangs turned up their full-court pressure, Ripon Christian was unable to conquer the challenge, falling to the Mustangs 47-32 in the championship of the Lady Knights Classic Wednesday at Ripon Christian.
TRACY – Sharon Washington had another phenomenal outing leading her Manteca Buffaloes to the consolation championship of the Tracy Breakfast Lions Tournament with a 50-40 win over Foothill High Wednesday.
SALIDA - Rod Wright isn't delusional.
BRENTWOOD – When Weston Ranch opened the first quarter with one of its worst offensive outputs of the season, recovering from its double-digit deficit proved impossible as the Cougars dropped its loser's bracket contest 74-48 to Clovis High in their 10th Annual West Coast Jamboree contest at Liberty High.
TRACY - The good news for East Union's girls basketball team is that it is still tied for first place in the Valley Oak League.
SALIDA - One day after notching its biggest win of the season, the Ripon boys basketball team appeared ready to ride that momentum after a quality first-quarter effort against Merced in a third-round consolation game of the Modesto Christian Holiday Hoops Classic Tuesday.
BRENTWOOD - The Weston Ranch Cougars got another strong effort from sophomore Jazmin Strane, who led a 47-43 victory over the Amador Valley Dons of Pleasanton Tuesday in second-round action of the 10th Annual West Coast Jamboree at Liberty High.
STOCKTON - The East Union boys basketball team nearly squandered its nine-point halftime lead, holding on for a 58-57 win over Stagg in 4th Annual Bear Creek Bruin Shootout Tuesday.
Ripon Christian's boys soccer team overcame a halftime deficit, and Andrew Manes nailed the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute to knock off host Le Grand 2-1 on Thursday.
The Manteca and East Union volleyball teams split their first two sets Wednesday before the visiting Lancers atoned for an earlier season sweep and pulled away to win the next two for a 25-21, 24-26, 25-22, 25-17 win in Valley Oak League action at Winter Gymnasium.
East Union co-head coaches Brian Goulart and Dennis Wells figured this was the year that the Lancers' run of championships in the Sierra Invitational would end.
The hardest part of the schedule is over for Ripon's football team.
Manteca and Oakdale entered Wednesday's Valley Oak League soccer contest tied in the standing, and the Mustangs escaped Guss Schmiedt Field with a 5-2 victory and sole possession of second place.
Manteca is on a three-match winning streak after thumping Kimball 8-1 in Tracy on Wednesday.
TRACY - Mahir Pepic and Haley Silva won the varsity boys and girls races without much of a challenge in the second Valley Oak League cluster meet Tuesday at Eagal Lakes.
Rich Posz hoped that his East Union volleyball team's upset of Oakdale last Thursday would have a carry-over effect in Tuesday's duel with first-place Central Catholic.
RIPON - Thomas Sidtikun scored two goals and assisted on a third Tuesday to help keep defending league champion Ripon in first place in the Trans-Valley League with a 3-0 win over Escalon at Stouffer Field.
Brooke Riley looked to be on her way to another outstanding round after a birdie-birdie start in East Union's Valley Oak League match with Sierra on Tuesday.
Elizabeth Tolbert held off East Union's Maddie Yslava to win a hard-earned three-set match and highlighted an 8-1 victory for visiting Manteca on Tuesday.
East Union's game plan was to apply pressure on the Manteca back line from the opening whistle Monday at Guss Schmiedt Field.
With help from East Union, Weston Ranch finds itself comfortably ahead of the pack at the midway point of the Valley Oak League boys soccer season.
Jacqui Uecker collected 12 kills, seven digs, two aces and a block to help Ripon ward off Riverbank 25-12, 10-25, 25-12, 25-16 in a Trans-Valley League volleyball match on Monday.
Manteca kept up a relentless attack from the opening kickoff to the final buzzer Friday and defeated host Lathrop 48-6 in Valley Oak League sophomore action at Bennie Gatto Field.