The Manteca High volleyball team has a tough act to follow this season.
The 2017 edition hit some high marks, winning the Valley Oak League for the first time in 26 years with a trip deep into the playoffs before a four-set semifinal loss to eventual Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion Sonora.
The Buffaloes advanced to the CIF State Division IV Volleyball Championships where they suffered a first-round, four-set loss to Liberty of Madera. It was their third appearance in the NorCal tourney.
Manteca rolled to a 13-1 VOL, 24-10 overall record, splitting its series with Oakdale for the only league loss. Gone from that squad are middle blocker Sarah Inderbitzin and outside hitter Rhiannon Genilla, and Buffaloes coach Kevin Bolding said they will be missed. This is Bolding’s ninth campaign at Manteca and 22nd overall.
But the Manteca cupboard is not bare. The Buffaloes return eight players led by reigning All-VOL MVP Kaitlyn Morenzone, All-VOL Most Outstanding Player and all-league second-team outside hitter Payton Reis. The trio is back for its fourth season of varsity competition.
The other returners are Samantha Cerritos, Kaylee MacDannald, Emma Kadillak, Isabella George and Thérèse Ferral.
Coach Bolding was pleased with last year’s effort and is looking ahead to another good season.
“The high point last year was winning the VOL for the first time in 26 years,” he said. “This year, our league should be very competitive, and hopefully we can rise to the challenge.”
The Buffaloes open their schedule Wednesday, Aug. 22, at home against Ripon and begin defense of their VOL title Tuesday, Sept. 4, at home against perennial powerhouse Oakdale.