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Burchs blocks help Buffaloes bury Sierra
VB--Sierra-Manteca pic 1
Sierras Kristen Maestretti connects for a spike but is challenged by Manteca middle blocker Alyssa Burch in Thursdays Valley Oak League match at Winter Gym. - photo by Photo By Sean Kahler

Alyssa Burch hosted another block party at Manteca High’s Winter Gym on Thursday.

The 6-foot senior piled up eight solo stuffs to go with seven kills in the Buffaloes’ 25-20, 25-23, 25-15 sweep of visiting rival Sierra. This happened one night after the senior middle accumulated eight blocks in a four-game loss to Weston Ranch.

“During a timeout I asked her if she had magnets on those hands,” Manteca coach Kevin Bolding said. “The ball just keeps finding them.”

Scoring on 16 blocks in matches that did not go five sets is “unheard of,” Bolding added. In a sweep, five would be considered plenty. Part of the credit can go to the opponents. Sierra’s Kristen Maestretti (eight kills, 10 digs) is one of the Valley Oak League’s top outside hitters, and like players give defenses opportunities to make blocks.

“Those blocks are huge,” Bolding said. “They’re as good as kills because they score points. Alyssa’s been a big part of our defense and we’ve been lucky enough to have her.”

Libero Melissa Hansen recorded 20 digs and three aces, and setter Beth Aschenbrenner contributed 18 assists and two aces for the Buffaloes (5-6 VOL, 8-9 overall). Tayler Moss dished out 18 assists for Sierra (2-8, 3-12).

East Union 3,
Weston Ranch 2

Trailing 7-4 in the deciding fifth game at Dalben Center, host East Union (7-4, 16-14) was able to tie it at 10-10 before serving out the remainder of the match for the thrilling win. Game scores were: 25-15, 23-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-10.

“Weston Ranch has definitely improved since last time we played them, but our girls really stepped up when they needed to,” East Union coach Rich Posz said.

Edmi Lopez (14 kills, six blocks) and Mariah Jeffrey (10 kills, three blocks) had productive nights on the front line. Setters Jordyn Posz (14 service points, 22 assists) and Melissa King (10 points, 17 assists) both served tough, while Estefany Jauregui paced the defense with 19 digs.

Weston Ranch (3-8, 7-9) was led by Victoria Gulley’s 11 kills and five aces. Elizabeth Alexander also doled out 11 kills. Nicole Kudla chimed in with 24 digs, and Jennifer Viguerias had 15 assists.


Manteca 2, Sierra 1

Tawny Deerinck served nine straight aces in the second game to help Manteca (6-4, 10-5) come back to knock off the visiting Timberwolves, 23-25, 25-13, 15-9. Caitlyn McVeigh added eight digs for the Buffaloes, while Karisa Rubio turned in 15 assists.

Vanessa Benham led Sierra with eight kills, and Kaitly Cathey handed out four assists.

East Union 2,
 Weston Ranch 0

The Squires (7-4 VOL) coasted to a 25-10, 25-14 victory behind Anna Hernandez’s six aces and Cassandra Avila’s eight digs.


Sierra 2, Manteca 0

Sierra squeaked out a 28-26, 25-22 win.

Emma Brierly served eight points, half of which went for aces. Melanie Fox added three aces, and Lindsey Walljasper picked up five digs.