RIPON — Angel Rodriguez sent his 14th serve wide, perhaps out of fatigue.
The first 13 were part of a perfect start for Manteca, which went on to roll to a 25-7, 25-18, 25-18 sweep Monday at Ripon.
The now-3-0 Buffaloes were on their game for much of the first set, and Rodriguez helped set the tone from the service line where he racked up all four of his aces during that opening salvo.
“We practiced a lot on serving because our first match (a five-set win at Sierra) did not go so well with serving,” Rodriguez said. “It was just a matter of getting used to the court and everything started smooth.”
Sophomore middle Camden Steckler also got going early, rapping three of his match-high 13 kills. He also finished with a pair of blocks. Oscar Anaya later added three aces in a five-point service run, finishing with four to go with nine kills.
Ripon’s first three points were gifted by Manteca via service errors, but second-year co-head coach Jennifer Reis liked the aggressiveness.
“Angel started us off strong,” she said. “You always have to be prepared for the unexpected in some of those service runs and I felt that our guys were ready to attack when the ball came back. It’s hard to keep that energy level where it needs to be during a streak like that.
After the lopsided opener, the Buffaloes’ energy dipped at the start of Game 2 as did their play. Ripon jumped out to a 7-3 lead, getting an ace each from Garrett Bright and Matthew Maragos.
Manteca, the far more experienced club of the two, regained control thanks to a scoring spike from Zachary Huffstutler and three straight aces from Bryan Alvarez. The Indians provided some resistance along the way, forcing Reis to call a timeout with a 19-17 lead after Bright nailed the back corner with a setter dump for a third time in second set.
“We kind of started to sleep on them, not going to lie,” Rodriguez said. “Then we picked up the pace. You can’t really play around with them because they are a good team. We picked the pace back up like our coach told us, started talking and playing consistent again. We took it over from there.”
Manteca scored six of the last eight points of the set and carried it over into the third, scoring the first four. The rally ended with a solo stuff from Steckler. Ripon did well to climb back and tie it at 5-5 but never took a lead in the final game.
Setter Jon Rosas led the Buffs with 21 assists and two aces. Alvarez ended with four kills, five aces and two assists. Manteca hosts the rematch tonight.