Manteca held its own against Central Catholic and nearly forced a fifth set in a 25-19, 13-25, 21-25, 24-26 Valley Oak League loss Tuesday in Modesto.
“It was a really good match,” Manteca coach Kevin Bolding said. “We were probably a couple of passes here and there in key situations from it being in our favor. We played well.”
The Buffaloes (5-7 VOL, 8-10 overall) had a shot at taking the third game with a 21-20 lead but gave up the final five points. They played from behind for most of Game 4 before tying it at 24-24.
“We just couldn’t get it done,” Bolding said.
Despite the loss, Bolding was glad to at least see his team play to its potential against one of the VOL’s best. Alyssa Burch continued her recent run of dominant play with seven blocks to go with 12 kills. Mildred Perez added six kills, five blocks and six digs.
Setter Beth Aschenbrenner (32 assists) kept Central Catholic’s defense off balance by finding a variety of Buffalo hitters. Morgan Miramontes (eight kills, 11 digs) and Taylor Bays (seven kills, 16 digs) also contributed to the attack.
Libero Melissa Hansen led the defense with 28 digs, and Chelsea Bruch contributed 14.
Central Catholic (11-1, 15-8) hosts Oakdale tonight in what is essentially VOL’s the championship match. Spearheading the Raiders on Tuesday were Lauren Nicholson (18 kills), Alyssa Mayberry (five blocks), Megan Schuber (19 assists) and Lourdes Herrera (four aces).
“We proved we could play with anybody, we just gotta get over that hump,” Bolding said. “In previous years we were not able to physically matchup (with top teams). Now that we can, we just have to come out mentally ready to get it done. But the girls played hard and gave themselves a chance, and that’s all we could ask for.”
Manteca heads to Lathrop on Thursday before closing out the season on senior night against Kimball Nov. 4.
Oakdale 3, East Union 0
In Oakdale, the Mustangs (11-1, 21-12) swiftly avenged their only league loss with a dominant sweep, 25-13, 25-16, 25-14. On Oct. 2, East Union shocked the VOL co-leaders with a four-game victory, its first over Oakdale in seven years.
“You could tell they wanted to get this glitch off their schedule,” East Union coach Rich Posz said. “They were prepared for us and it definitely looked like it. They were a different team.”
Edmi Lopez churned out nine kills for the Lancers (7-5, 16-14), while Mariah Jeffrey chipped in five. Amy Gann had three digs and three service points.
The good news for East Union is that it is still in the running to steal the third and final Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth in the VOL, but it will need some help. On top of winning out — starting with Thursday’s home match with first-place Central Catholic — the Lancers need third-place Kimball to lose its final two.