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Sierra holds off scrappy Lathrop for 1st VOL win
Callia Linnell Morales gets her spike off for Lathrop as Sierra blockers Carolina Ortega (5) and Megan Westfall (1) try in vain to stop it. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

LATHROP — When the going got tough, Kristen Maestretti and the Sierra volleyball team got going Thursday in their Valley Oak League match at Lathrop.

Led by Maestretti’s all-around play, the Timberwolves notched their first league win with a three-game sweep, 25-20, 25-17, 26-24.

“It was nice to get the win,” said Maestretti, who had nine kills, 14 digs and five aces. “The team showed that we had heart. We were resilient tonight.”

Sierra (1-2 VOL, 2-7 overall) didn’t flinch anytime Lathrop (1-2, 1-7) threatened to take control. Maestretti went on a four-point serving run that included her first two aces to give Sierra a 15-11 cushion in the opening set. She later clinched the game for Sierra with a kill.

The Timberwolves led 13-3 at one point in Game 2, getting two aces from Maestretti and emphatic kills from Madison English and Morgan Willis (six kills, two blocks) in the process.

Lathrop, to its credit, showed some fight and twice closed the deficit to five but ultimately couldn’t overcome Sierra’s strong serves. Maestretti recorded another ace to give Sierra game point, and it ended with a Lathrop hitting error.

The Spartans looked to extend the match in the third game, racing out to a 6-1 advantage. After a missed serve, Julie DeAnda took her turn at the service line for Sierra and helped her team rally back. Her eight-point run was the longest of the contest, as she picked up an ace while Lathrop struggled to get its offense going no thanks to her overpowering serves.

The Timberwolves would take a 10-6 lead and appeared to be on their way to an easy sweep. That was not the case, as Lathrop ended up tying it at 21-21 with Leilani Calderon’s ace. Sierra had could not seal it with two match-point opportunities, and Callie Linnell Morales crushed a spike to knot the score back up at 24-24 for the Spartans.

Maestretti countered with a well-placed spike to the back right corner, and Sierra celebrated the win after Lathrop was unable to return Willis’ serve.

It was overall the best effort put together by Sierra’s young squad. With the team’s serving setting the tone, Lathrop had trouble mounting its attack which, in turn, gave the Timberwolves easier chances to get theirs untracked. Setter Tayler Moss handed out 19 assists in the win.

“We came together as a team tonight,” Sierra coach Trinity Johnson said. “That came to play in our serving and the flow of the game. We kept the momentum up and that led to bump, sets, spikes.”

Jaime Ready and Desiree Mendola finished with five and four kills for Lathrop, respectively. Laura Diboki contributed two aces, and Calderon came up with eight digs.


Sierra 2, Lathrop 1

Kiara Baleva racked up nine aces, while Louisa Hunter had four kills in the Timberwolves’ come-from-behind victory. Scores were 13-25, 25-16, 15-10.


Sierra 2, Lathrop 0

Sierra coasted to a 25-13, 25-6 sweep.

Carly Mahurin led the way with four hits, and Lindsey Walljasper served 11 points and seven aces.