Coming into this season, the last time Manteca High won a Valley Oak League volleyball championship was 1991.
None of the current Buffaloes players were even going to be born for around 10 years, and the lion’s share of their parents were just a few years removed from high school themselves.
That all changed Wednesday night when Manteca swept host East Union 25-7, 25-16, 25-13 to claim the outright VOL championship.
“This is just unbelievable,” Buffaloes coach Kevin Bolding said. “If someone would have looked at us in the summer they would have said we were terrible, but you never know until you start playing. We had the right people in the right places at the right time and everything worked. Our players played hard night in and night out.
“To go 14 games and end up where we did is tough, but that is a tribute to the players. Each night they brought their ‘A’ game because in the VOL it does not matter who you are playing, top to bottom. It was all them, not me. I just directed traffic out there.”
Bolding did a pretty good job of directing traffic Wednesday as the Buffaloes (13-1 VOL, 22-8 overall) did not trail the entire match. There were only two ties.
Rhiannon Genilla (two aces) came out on fire, getting seven of her 15 digs in the first set, including a kill to end the game.
“My adrenaline was pumping with this environment,” Genilla said. “And my team pumped me up as well.
“We were all getting set up by great passes.”
Kaitlyn Morenzone (nine digs, four kills, three aces) and Kacy Bolding (six digs, kill) each had 15 assists for Manteca with Morenzone dishing up 24 service points including an 11-point run to end the first set and a six-point run to end the third. Morenzone ended the match with an ace.
“Serving is so important to the game,” Morenzone said. “That’s something we all try to do.
“And it is fun to get the kills, but it is about setting up whoever is on a roll, like Rhiannon was tonight.”
Payton Reis added to the Manteca attack with 10 service points, six kills, four digs and two aces. Sarah Inderbitzin added four kills, four service points, a dig and a block and Emma Kadillak had eight digs, six service points and two aces.
“It’s been such a long time,” Reis said. “And it feels so good to get it against a rival, too.”
Ragan Fowzer led the Lancers (2-12, 3-15) with eight blocks and a kill. Jaidyn Valencia added five blocks amd two kills; Kiana Day had nine digs and three kills; Savannah LeBarre had five kills and an ace and Angelica Mercardo posted eight assists.
“It was not a usual night for us,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “It was about the seniors tonight. They got to play two out of three games. Usually my starters play all three games but they did not tonight, they played one.
“We were not going for any championship, they all played to be a team and that was our goal.”
Manteca opens the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs on Monday evening.
Manteca 2, East Union 0
Sydnee Navarro had four digs, three kills and three assists to lead the Buffaloes to their 25-18, 25-18 win.
Abi Arias (three aces, two kills) , Kerren Zou, and Kayley Miller all had six service points for Manteca and Michaela John had five.
Mickayla Surnip had six kills for the Lancers. Hailey Sims added six aces, Emma Valdez had five digs and Sam Snyder had six kills.
East Union 2, Manteca 0
Nikki Blair tallied six aces and six assists for the Lancers in a 25-19, 25-22 win.
Isa Price added five kills for East Union and Leilana Viloria (four assists) had two kills.
Jaelyn Negran had seven assists and two aces for the Buffaloes. Katelyn Gross added two kills and two aces and Giselle Gutierrez had three aces.