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battle for first
Manteca High still undefeated in Valley Oak League volleyball play
volley FOUR copy
Manteca Highs Darren Scott tries to hit the ball past Gabriel Gutierrez (15) and Eric Ponce (9) of the Spartans. - photo by Photo by Wane Thallander

In a battle for supremacy of the Valley Oak League, Manteca High got the better of host Lathrop on Friday.
The Buffaloes (4-0 VOL, 11-0) overcame an opening loss to take the best-of-five games match, 16-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-16.
“We had to get a feel (of the match) before we finally got it going,” said Manteca coach Kevin Bolding. “Lathrop did a great job coming back in that first game.”
The opener was a seesaw battle involving two top VOL teams. The Buffaloes took the early lead only to see Spartans surge ahead behind the play of Gabriel Gutierrez, who had a kill and another point off a dink shot.
The Buffaloes tied it three times including once on a kill by Cameron Reis and another point coming off a spike by Kylan Chandler.
Tied 16-16, Lathrop (4-1 VOL, 13-6) rallied for nine unanswered points to take Game No. 1. In that stretch, Tyler Riggleman and Gutierrez both had kills while Ysrael Gutierrez delivered a service ace.
Manteca led from start to finish in Game No. 2.
But the Spartans were hindered by mistakes, in particular, shortly after they pulled to within three of the lead, 18-15.
Lathrop committed four straight unforced errors coupled with an out-of-bound serve to close things out.
“The physical mistakes are going to happen,” said Spartans coach Heather Anderson. “It’s the mental ones that hurt.”
The Buffaloes jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the third game. Lathrop came to within four points of the lead thanks to a spike by Gutierrez – he tallied eight kills, 14 assists and 15 digs in the four games played – to make it 13-9 at that point.
“We let the mistakes take us out of the game,” Anderson said. “We let (Manteca) get on a run.”
That’s how the final two games played out.
Lathrop kept it close in the decisive Game No. 4, tying things up eight times during the course of play.
Manteca went ahead, starting with a service ace delivered by libero Joseph Borres. Cameron Reis, who tallied 12 kills and three blocks, delivered three spikes and a block down the stretch.
Setter Jonathan Borres ended the match with a kill. Altogether, he recorded 25 assists and eight digs.
Kyle Bolding came through with 19 digs, seven assists, four aces and two blocks while Chandler chipped in with 15 kills and 10 digs.
Kyle Reis, in addition, tallied six digs for the Buffaloes.
For the Spartans, libero Mark Fabian had 35 digs and three blocks, Riggleman tallied 12 kills, and Gutierrez finished with 18 assists and three aces.
Manteca will host East Union at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Lathrop will square off against the Lancers on Wednesday.