Manteca swept East Union to open Valley Oak League play.
Oakdale made quick work of Manteca a week later.
Thursday’s East Union-Oakdale outcome would seem easy to predict, right?
The Lancers came through at clutch moments in the first two sets en route to a four-game upset (25-23, 25-23, 16-25, 25-15) of Oakdale at Dalben Center. Welcome to the new VOL, a league once dominated by Sonora (now in the Mother Lode League) and traditional rival Oakdale.
The shocking result leaves VOL newcomer Central Catholic alone at the top of the standings. It marked the first East Union win over Oakdale since Sept. 13, 2007 and just the second in the last 10 years.
“I think we’ve gotten better (since the Manteca match),” East Union coach Rich Posz said. “A little late in figuring things out but the girls are gelling right now and playing well. There’s a lot of parity in league this year. We have probably six teams that can compete with each other.”
The first two games were back-and-fourth struggles. After dropping the first, Oakdale (4-1 VO, 12-10 overall) threatened to even the score in the second while holding a 23-22 lead. The Lancers (3-2, 9-10) rallied to score the final three points to steal the game. Haley England’s kill tied it at 23-23, Destiny Flores served an ace and an Oakdale setting error clinched it for East Union.
The Mustangs had little resistance in taking Game 3 after a service run put them up 15-7 early on. East Union got back on track in the fourth, jumping out to a 9-3 before Oakdale clawed back to tie it at 11-all. That was Taylor Ward’s cue to take over from the service line, as she led East Union’s staggering onslaught that pushed it ahead, 20-11.
Ward (two aces, seven digs) was one of three Lancers to finish with 10 service points, joining Jordyn Posz (18 assists) and Amy Gann (two aces, five digs). Mariah Jeffrey spearheaded the attack with 10 kills to go with two blocks. Edmi Lopez spiked seven kills, and England ended up with five along with two blocks. Alissa Burrola chimed in with four kills, two aces and a team-high 14 digs.
“The girls proved to themselves that they can compete at this level in league,” coach Posz said.
East Union has a big stretch coming up with three away matches in three days next week. It starts at first-place Central Catholic on Tuesday followed by its rematch with Manteca and another cross-town battle against Sierra.
Central Catholic 3,
At Winter Gym, VOL-leading Central Catholic (5-0, 9-5) conquered the Buffaloes (3-2, 5-5), 25-17, 25-13, 25-19.
“We just made too many mistakes right from the start and could never recover,” Manteca coach Kevin Bolding said. “Some of that is them, Central Catholic is a good team. But it’s like I told the girls, when you come ready to play every night you can play with anybody.”
Mildred Perez had seven kills and three blocks to lead Manteca. Alyssa Burch, Morgan Miramontes and Taylor Bays swatted five kills apiece. Beth Aschenbrenner finished with 17 assists, and Melissa Hansen had 10 digs.
Weston Ranch 3, Sierra 2
At Sierra, the visiting Cougars (1-4, 5-5) snapped a four-match losing streak with a thrilling 23-25, 25-11, 25-27, 25-21, 18-16 victory.
Elizabeth Alexander racked up 10 kills, 17 digs and four aces in the five-game marathon. Kiara Stanifer added eight kills, Iris Murphy also picked up 17 digs and Jennifer Viguerias handed out 20 assists.
Sierra (1-4, 2-8) came up short despite 28 kills from Kristen Maestretti. Tayler Moss set 25 assists, Brianna Padua had 16 digs.
Ripon Christian 3, Denair 0
The Knights (3-1, 14-5) rebounded well after having their 58-match league winning streak snapped by Orestimba on Tuesday. They took out their frustrations on visiting Denair, 25-10, 25-11, 25-17.
Makenna Koslosky turned in 10 digs and six aces to lead the charge. Dani Erdelatz and Paige Vos hammered 10 and eight kills, respectively. Rachel Faure dished out 12 assists.
Sierra 2, Weston Ranch 0
Kaitlyn Cathey (two assists) and Jen Matsumoto (two digs) each served three aces in Sierra’s 25-19, 25-19 win.
Weston Ranch 2, Sierra 1
The host Timberwolves dropped a tough 25-13, 24-26, 6-15 decision.
Lindsey Walljasper tallied eight service points, five blocks and two kills. Carly Murhin pounded a pair of kills.