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Buffaloes complete perfect VOL season
With Manteca High head coach Kevin Bolding holding up one end of the net, senior Mauricio Espinoza (4) cuts a piece off as the Buffaloes celebrate their historic Valley Oak League boys volleyball championship Wednesday at Winter Gym. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Winning the first-ever boys volleyball championship in the Valley Oak League wasn’t good enough for Manteca.

On Wednesday, the Buffaloes wrapped up a perfect finish in league with a 25-12, 25-21, 25-23 sweep of visiting rival East Union. They roll into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, which begin next Tuesday, riding a 14-match winning streak.

Manteca head coach Kevin Bolding celebrated the historic occasion with his players by holding a traditional net-cutting ceremony typically reserved for basketball. It came with little fanfare since he kept it a secret, even from his players. 

Bolding’s kids, Kyle and Kacy Bolding, cut down the nets at Winter Gym two months ago after helping the school’s boys and girls basketball teams earn VOL titles. 

“I thought about it the other day on the way home from practice,” coach Bolding said. “I said to my daughter, ‘You guys cut down the nets in basketball … maybe we can cut down the net.’ It’s a little bit different, but we have a net.”

So, after practice Tuesday, Bolding fetched a net from the old gym and turned it into a souvenir for the players. Now they’re hungry for more.

“Hopefully we can keep it going in the playoffs,” 6-foot-8 senior middle blocker Tydus Verhoeven said. Headed to Duquesne University for basketball, Verhoeven helped the Buffaloes’ hoops team win a state title last year and a VOL crown this past winter, but a SJS banner has eluded him,

“I’ve never won a section (title), and it would be really cool in our first season to get a section (title),” Verhoeven added.

East Union (2-8, 4-18) led for most of the third set and threatened to extend the match while holding onto a 23-16 lead. Armando Martinez scored on two straight spikes to help turn the tables for Manteca, and Oswaldo Garcia contributed a well-placed dink that was lofted over an East Union blocker and just inside the sideline. The Buffaloes ended registered the final nine points to end it.

Manteca only dropped four sets in league play.

“It’s our first year; we wanted to make a statement in the league,” Manteca junior setter Jonathan Borres said. “We had the right players to do that and the right coaches as well. It was a good season.

“Next year we’ll have basically the same team,” he added. “We’ll have good chemistry. It’s a good opportunity for us to build on this.”

Borres finished with 13 assists and four digs, while his brother, Joseph, led the team with 20 digs. Kylan Chandler, who capped off the opening set with the match’s best hit, racked up 10 kills and 13 digs. Oswaldo Garcia added 13 assists, five kills and six digs. Verhoeven chipped in six kills and three blocks despite sitting out the entire third set.

Jack Weaver (10 assists), Devin Abrew (five kills) and Grant Silva (nine blocks) were standouts for East Union.