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BOYS VOLLEYBALL: Spartans overwhelm Lancers
Lathrop sweeps despite missing two key seniors
Bulletin sports 2020-21
East Union's Flavio Mercado (9) defends Lathrop's Christian Green (8). - photo by SEAN KAHLER

The undermanned Lathrop boys led from start to finish Monday in the first and third games and withstood nine ties and three lead changes in the second to sweep host East Union 25-16, 25-21, 25-18 in Valley Oak League action at Dalben Center. 

“Our two seniors chose not to play as a COVID precaution,” Spartans coach Stephanie Barrious said. “So on Thursday and Friday we did a lot of scenarios because we knew we were coming up against a tough hitter in Flavio Mercado. We have to plan around him because he is a horse and I thought we did a pretty good job. We tried a couple of those scenarios today and it seemed to work.

“Our team is big on communication and in that second set they were not talking.”

Christian Green (11 kills, three blocks, ace) had a key kill and a block down the stretch of that pivotal second game for Lathrop (8-1 VOL) with the block a resounding one that ended the game. 

“I wanted to put on a show for the seniors and bring energy to the team,” said Green, a junior.

Teammate Arman John added eight kills, five digs and an assist.

“My defense was a little rough today,” John said. “But I want to come back stronger on Tuesday.”

Tory Sumbler (25 assists, six digs, two aces), Lucas Baluyut (25 assists, six digs, two aces) and Jerico Santillan (seven digs, six kills, assist) rounded out the Spartans attack.

The Lancers (2-2) hung with Lathrop early in the first game. Trailing just 7-5, East Union then found itself back on its heels as the Spartans went on an 8-1 run and never looked back.

“We came out really flat,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “When the boys are flat, they don’t know how to react to things. They don’t talk and they don’t communicate. But then they kind of dusted things off a bit and decided they wanted to start playing in that second game but unfortunately it was a little too late. 

“I don’t know if it was fatigue or a lack of communication, but in that third game something was up.”

Mercado led the Lancers with 10 kills and two blocks. Nathan Rodriguez added five digs and two kills, Riland Simpao chipped in seven digs and Jose Maestas made 12 assists. Pearce Kempner and Marco Galvan (block) added two kills apiece.  

Manteca 3, Mountain House 0

Angel Rodriguez had five kills and two aces as an all-around sparkplug for the visiting Buffaloes (7-2), who made quick work of winless Mountain House (0-9), 25-17, 25-23, 25-15.

Alejandro Tornero contributed eight kills and two aces. Camden Steckler racked up six kills and three blocks. Bryan Alvarez turned in nine assists, while Connor Navarro dished out four to go with four aces.