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Lancers fend off Lathrop for revenge win
BVB--Lathrop-East Union pic 2 WEB
East Union middle Grant Silva swats spike past the block of Lathrops Eric Ponce in Valley Oak League boys volleyball action Wednesday at Dalben Center. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Bottom feeders in the Valley Oak League’s inaugural boys volleyball season last year, East Union and Lathrop are now contending for postseason berths.

Their duel at Dalben Center played out like a playoff match, as East Union held off the visiting Spartans’ comeback charge to prevail in five games, 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 21-25, 15-7. 

The Lancers (4-2 VOL, 5-7 overall) avenged their league-opening loss to Lathrop (4-2, 13-7), and they’re now tied for second behind undefeated Manteca with four regular-season matches remaining. The top three teams advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

“As a first-year program we were just getting used to everything,” senior middle blocker Grant Silva said. “This year we have some good freshmen and a lot of new, good players. We’re improving as a team and coaching has played a big part. We’re getting better every day in practice and it’s showing on the court.”

Silva led the Lancers with 12 kills and 16 blocks. Jonathan Castenada pitched in with 20 digs, Parmbir Khattra set 35 assists and Agustin Castenada served four aces. Freshman middle Flavio Mercado was instrumental in sealing the victory for EU, coming up with three of his 10 kills in the fifth set. He ended the match with a well-placed tip that Lathrop could not get control of.

“I was nervous because it was the last game, and it was our first time playing five (games),” he said. “I just had to be smart.”

The Lancers opened Game 5 on a 7-0 run capped by Emmanuel Knight’s block on Gabriel Gutierrez. The first five points were tallied on Lathrop mistakes, but East Union deserves credit for keeping plays alive with scrappy play on the back row.

Early in the set, Jester Ramirez dove into East Union’s bench as he chased down an errant first touch. Lathrop wound up sending a freeball wide, giving the Lancers a 3-0 lead.

“They knew they couldn’t let things drop in the fifth game,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “They were moving their feet and diving on the floor. They were giving their all. That fifth game, that’s the team we know we have. It’s those moments that get their blood pumping.”

Lathrop did well to force a fifth set. Game 1 was an uphill battle from start to finish as the Spartans could not match East Union’s early intensity, and in the second set they were unable to maintain a 7-2 lead following Adrian Corona’s ace. Lathrop was done in by six service errors in a game it wound up losing by three. Knight ended it emphatically for East Union with a kill.

“Flat out, they made less mistakes than we did,” Lathrop coach Heather Anderson said. “We made a lot of unforced errors and didn’t deserve to win.

“Once we got the momentum going our way good things were happening, but unforced errors really kills momentum,” she added. “I think it shows that we’ve got a lot of fight, but our momentum died with those unforced errors.”

Tyler Riggleman racked up 14 kills and nine digs to pace Lathrop. Gabriel Gutierrez added 11 kills and 26 digs. Rael Carmesis added 23 assists and 17 digs.


Manteca 3,

Weston Ranch 0

STOCKTON — After dropping opening sets in its previous two matches against Lathrop and East Union, Manteca (6-0, 13-0) took care of the host Cougars (1-5, 7-10) in a 25-10, 25-21, 25-10 sweep.

Kylan Chandler led the way with 12 kills and 15 digs. Cameron Reis added six kills and two blocks. Kyle Reis had four kills and five digs. Jonathan Borres dished out 23 assists, while Joseph Borres picked up 21 digs.

Armando Mendoza and Jimmy Nguyen led Weston Ranch with six kills and nine digs, respectively.