Manteca wasn’t always sharp, but the Buffaloes were good enough to sweep rival Sierra across town Monday, 25-15, 25-16, 25-19.
Having lost two of their last three, the Buffaloes (2-1 Valley Oak League, 5-2 overall) were just glad to come away with the victory. Rhiannon Genilla secured the win with two straight aces, and during an eight-point stretch in the final set she racked up three of her total five kills along with a stuffed block.
“We stayed focused enough to get it done,” Manteca coach Kevin Bolding said. “They’re a good team with some good players who are coached up well. We did what we needed to. Sometimes on the road you just want to get in and get out.
“I thought we did a little bit better in playing defense and covering the court, we didn’t let a lot of balls drop. Overall, we played OK.”
Manteca struggled defensively in its last outing, a four-game loss to defending VOL champion Oakdale. Although it tightened things up in the back row, unforced errors and missed serves allowed Sierra (0-3, 4-6) to mount comebacks throughout.
The Timberwolves had their best run at the start of the second game when they rallied for a 6-1 lead capped by a block from Lindsey Walljasper (five kills, three blocks, five digs).
Kaitlyn Morenzone helped right the ship for Manteca, sparking a nine-point spurt with a tip that closed the Buffs in, 12-10. She then took over from the service line, collecting eight straight points including two aces. Sierra’s Vanessa Benham (three kills, two blocks, three digs) halted it with a kill, but the Timberwolves trailed 18-13 and couldn’t fully recover.
“We haven’t been playing well in the last two weeks,” Morenzone said. “We wanted to come out and prove to ourselves we’re a good team, plus it’s the whole rivalry thing.”
It was all Manteca for much of the first and third sets. The Buffaloes led 14-3 at one point in Game 1, and 10-4 early in Game 3.
Payton Reis led Manteca’s balanced attack with nine kills along with six digs. Destanie Elliott and Sarah Inderbitzin each pitched in six kills. Tawny Deerinck (eight digs) and Morenzone (11 assists) each collected 13 service points and three aces. Kacy Bolding finished with 12 assists.
“All of them can make a play at the net, whether it’s a spike or a tip,” Morenzone said of Manteca’s front-row depth. “It’s nice to have that.”
Manteca hosts Central Catholic on Wednesday, while Sierra welcomes Weston Ranch.
Sierra 2, Manteca 1
Hailey Steele and Teresa Benham keyed the Timberwolves’ thrilling 25-11, 21-25, 15-12 victory.
Manteca 2, Sierra 0
The visiting Buffaloes came away with a well-contested 25-23, 26-24 win.
Natalie Dias posted seven kills and four aces to lead Sierra. Stella Brierly added six aces and 11 assists. Alexis Flores had seven aces and a kill.