Tawny Deerinck got to match her teammates’ jersey tops for a change Monday when she and the Buffaloes from Manteca visited rival East Union.
Usually the team’s libero, Deerinck was moved to outside hitter with leading attacker Payton Reis out with a leg injury. Manteca didn’t skip a beat with the revamped lineup, sweeping the Lancers 25-22, 25-14, 25-23 with Deerinck topping all players with seven kills.
Junior Carly Morrish took over libero duties for the Buffaloes (5-2 Valley Oak League, 7-3 overall), finishing with four digs.
“It’s just a matter of people stepping up,” Manteca coach Kevin Bolding said. “It’s not anything new for Tawny because she played outside before we turned her into a libero last year.
“It’s like I’ve told them before, you’re probably going to have to play different positions so stay ready. It’s a different rotation, but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal for us.”
And it wasn’t Monday.
Although East Union (3-3, 3-5) threatened to steal Games 1 and 3 with late comebacks, the Buffaloes didn’t budge in what was mostly a one-sided match. It was fittingly Deerinck who punctuated the win, deflecting Emma Ott’s tip for the final point.
“We had a nice flow to the game,” Bolding said. “We didn’t get rattled. They stayed nice and calm, even after getting blocked it was just about moving onto the next one. We did a nice job with that tonight. Our passing and defense were good as was our serving.”
Manteca was balanced as usual on the attack; Rhiannon Genilla (three aces), Kacy Boolding (12 assists) and Kaitlyn Morenzone (eight assists, two aces) each had six kills. Middle blockers Destanie Elliott and Sarah Inderbitzin combined for five stuffs and 28 service points. Elliot had a four-point service run capped by a Deerinck kill in Game 3 to Manteca a 19-13 lead. Elliott accounted for 18 points.
“We’ve never let Destanie served before,” Bolding said. “I don’t mind her serving, it’s just the way it has worked out with our rotations.”
Slow starts hurt East Union in first two sets when the Lancers trailed 5-1 and 7-1, respectively. A five-point flurry sparked by Isabel Marmolejo’s kill helped them take an 8-7 lead early in the opening game, but it was their only advantage until the third.
East Union started strong in Game 3, leading 4-1 and later 4-3 after an ace from Kassandra Avila. Manteca regained the lead for good at 9-8 on Morenzone’s tip.
“We stress to them that the first point is very big,” East Union coach Kim Brooks said. “That basically sets the tone of the game. Starting down the first two games was a setback, but one thing that they are good at doing is coming back from it. We want to be the one to jump the gun and take the lead early on, so we’ll continue to work on that.”
Sophia Williams returned from a sprained wrist to lead the Lancers with five kills and three blocks. Vanessa Cuellar added five kills and six assists. LaEssa Pierce collected 14 digs.
Manteca 2, East Union 1
The Buffaloes (2-5 VOL) dominated the third and deciding set to escape with a 19-25, 25-17, 15-6 victory.
Emma Kadillak paced the attack with seven kills and four assists. Michaela John contributed nine service points, and Kaley Miller had seven digs.