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LANCERS SURVIVE IN FIVE
Dias leads EUs 2nd straight 5-game win
vb-EU-vs-Man-pic-5a
East Unions Jill Costa, left, tries to deflect the tip of Mantecas Myklyn Balmut. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Sophomore setter Regina Dias got East Union going from the service line.

And it was she who punctuated the Lancers’ second five-game victory in as many nights.

Dias served in the first five points — including an ace to start off — in the deciding fifth game, and her off-kilter spike clinched East Union’s thrilling win over rival Manteca at Dalben Center. Game scores were: 21-25, 25-18, 19-25, 26-24, 15-10.

East Union (5-4, 8-7 overall) is part of a four-team scramble — which also involves Kimball, Manteca and Weston Ranch — for third place in the Valley Oak League, and every match going forward has Sac-Joaquin Section playoff implications.

The Lancers previously beat Manteca in five games on Sept. 16. They also went the distance on Monday, edging out Weston Ranch 15-13 in the final set to jump start an important stretch of the regular season.

 “It’s pretty crazy doing that back-to-back days and having no practice, but we were able to get it together and pull through,” said Dias, who finished with 19 assists while tying teammate Starla Beltran for match-high honors with six service aces. Beltran also led the team with 12 digs.

Manteca (4-4, 6-8) answered Dias’ early service streak in Game 5 with three straight kills, two coming from Myklyn Balmut. The Buffaloes closed in 5-6 thanks to a serve-receive error from East Union but would get no closer.

“I think it gave us a boost of confidence and it got in their heads early,” Dias said of the 5-0 start. “We were able to keep our composure and eventually finished it off.”

East Union nearly blew its opportunity to force a fifth game after holding a commanding 19-13 lead in the fourth set. A serve-receive miscue allowed Manteca to tie at 24, but the lead went right back to the Lancers on a serving error. East Union secured the game when a Manteca player was called for a net violation.

“The girls slowed down for a little bit in the fourth game, but they really wanted to win and played with heart,” East Union coach Jenaia Cano said. “They came into the fifth game fired up and ready to win.”

The Buffaloes routinely had to dig themselves out of holes all night. They were down 1-4 in each of the first three games, and in the second set the deficit stretched out to, 1-7. Julia Martinez helped Manteca stay in every game with dominant stretches. She led all players with 16 kills.

“Starting out that far behind makes it tough on anybody, and it definitely didn’t help us,” Manteca coach Tim Horning said. “A lot of mistakes just caught up to us, and in the end we couldn’t overcome them.”

Alexis Steele led East Union’s front-row players with eight kills and two blocks. Samantha Morris turned in 33 assists for Manteca, and Buffalo libero Nicole Magnuson recorded 15 digs and four aces.



Sophomore

Manteca 2, East Union 1


McKenna Balmut blasted her seventh and final kill on the match’s final play, securing the Buffaloes’ wild three-game victory (29-27, 24-26, 15-11).

Balmut also had 15 service points, five aces and three blocks. Jessica Hasal added nine assists, Indiana Perreira contributed seven digs and Beth Aschenbrenner collected 13 digs.

Meagan Gonsalez came up big in the second game, notching five digs and three aces.