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Manteca notches hard-earned win in season opener at Lathrop
Manteca-Lathrop girls volleyball
Riley Ward (4) sets for Manteca teammate Amil Gaskins (10). - photo by Wayne Thallander

Led by the front-row trio of Izabella Sanchez, Michaela Singh and Taimane Tu’uga on Tuesday, Manteca had to work for its four-set win — 26-24, 25-18, 26-28, 19-25 — at Lathrop.

It was the first official match of the season for the Buffaloes, while Lathrop dropped to 1-1.

“Give them tons of credit,” Manteca coach Robin Chandler said of the host Spartans. “They have some good hitters, some good placement shots and they’re super scrappy. We just couldn’t get it to drop because they were getting everything. There were a lot of long rallies that kind of wore my girls out.”

Manteca won the rallies early on to escape with the opening set. Lathrop made things interesting by scoring three unanswered points to tie it at 24-24. Sanchez put the Buffs back up with a tip, and Tu’uga sealed with a with a service ace.

The Buffaloes carried the momentum into the game 2, scoring the first five points. The lead expanded to 18-6 after Tu’uga put away a kill that capped the longest rally of the night.

Lathrop, of course, did not go away quietly and forced Manteca to call a timeout at one point. Janessa Ward’s scorched a spike down the line to close the Spartans in, 22-17. Scoring tips from Amil Gaskins and Tu’uga on back-to-back plays secured the set for Manteca.

“That’s what I love about this team, the never-quit mentality,” Lathrop coach Toa Fa’ali’i said. “I try to instill that in every practice. We want to be that keep that has the attitude of never giving up.

“It’s nice to see them go out there and play like that. I told them, you know what, win or lose, if you guys play like that we’re fine, because you’re doing what I ask of you.”

Neither team led by more than three points in the back-and-forth third game. The Spartans had three set-point situations before finally winning it with Briana Elayba’s ace.

In the end, it was the Spartans who ran out of steam, as Manteca led wire-to-wire in the fourth game.

Sanchez paced the Buffaloes with 17 kills, four blocks and four aces. Singh contributed 16 kills, and Tu’uga had 13 kills and 13 digs. Libero Nicole Ayala led the defense with 44 digs, and Riley Slikker had 13. Riley Ward and Ava Negranza split setting duties, finishing with 32 and 21 assists, respectively.

“We have things to work on,” Chandler said. “We have a mixture of a few with experience but there are others with raw talent. Definitely a lot of potential on this team.”

Elizabeth Andrade had several big moments for Lathrop, ending with 17 kills and 15 digs. Ward added 13 kills and 11 digs. Justine Mabutas collected 17 digs, Julia Roaquin distributed 15 assists and Annie Millan had 10 assists.

Lathrop is back at it tonight against East Union, while Manteca next plays in the Stockton Classic Varsity Kickoff this Saturday.


East Union 3, Los Banos 0

The Lancers took care of business on the road, winning 25-20, 25-17, 25-16.

Mariela Navarro led them with nine kills and four blocks, Marcella Carrenza handed out 12 assists and Meritiana Luani racked up 11 digs. Katelyn Trevino pitched in seven kills to the attack.


Sierra 3, Lathrop 0

The Timberwolves swept the Foundation Game on Monday, 25-19. 25-21, 25-21.

Zoe Kossart crushed 16 kills, and Sophia Marian contributed nine aces to the attack. Ellis Denny paced the back row with nine digs, and Cianna Leonardo set 14 assists.


Junior varsity

Manteca 2, Lathrop 0

Amaya Zavala amassed 10 aces and seven assists for the Buffaloes, who prevailed, 25-19, 25-11.

Talia Shelbourne added four kills, three digs and two aces. Kamiyah Johnson netted eight digs.

Tatiana Lopez led Lathrop with seven digs. Nevaeh Hubbard had three digs, two assists and a kill.



Manteca 2, Lathrop 0

The Buffaloes cruised to a 25-10, 25-14 sweep.

Na’ima Calderon collected 17 service points, four aces and three kills. Annika Burns contributed six kills and a block. Lily Dundas fired six aces.

Taylor Johnwell doled out three kills for Lathrop. Erin Chun had four assists and three digs.


Los Banos 2, East Union 0

East Union was swept, 19-25, 13-25.

Lancers standouts were Kennedy McLeod up front, Kaylee Braun with serving and setting, Jenna Holdren with passing, Andi Guibor on serves and Aviana Menzel all-around.