LOS BANOS — Lathrop’s girls volleyball team clinched sole possession of the Western Athletic Conference championship Thursday and made it a memorable event.
Los Banos, celebrating senior night, was a point away from capping a major upset in the deciding fifth game, but the visiting Spartans rallied for four unanswered points to come away with the thrilling 15-25, 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 16-14 victory.
“There is just something about playing at Los Banos that’s not good,” Lathrop coach Heather Anderson said. Last year, her team was on its way to earning a share of the program’s first-ever title until the Tigers (4-9 WAC, 6-21 overall) recorded a stunning with a five-set win.
“We were able to finish when we really had our backs against the wall,” Anderson said. “We had major flashbacks of last year. We came out flat, but Los Banos played great defense and made it tough to put the ball away.”
Lathrop (13-0, 21-4) needed some big-time efforts from its standouts to pull it out, with some help from a recent junior varsity call-up. Senior outside hitter Jahsita Fa’ali’i accumulated 34 kills and 33 digs and was on the service line for the Spartans’ match-winning scoring run.
Setter Jennifer Santillan also had a taxing night, racking up 53 assists and 13 digs. Hailey Hunter led the defense with 49 digs, while sophomore call-up Lylliana Avila contributed 16 and Desiree Ambatali added 16 apiece. Sydney Hanks added 12 kills to the attack.
Lathrop ends the regular season next Tuesday at Mountain House.
Manteca 3, Kimball 0
TRACY — Manteca (7-3, 11-6) clinched a postseason berth with its surprising 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 sweep of the Valley Oak League’s second-place team. Kimball (8-2, 23-5) owns an impressive record but has squeaked out five five-set wins against league opponents, including one against the Buffaloes.
Making the playoffs is gratifying for coach Kevin Bolding after losing three four-year starters to graduation.
“I think going in there was probably some people out there that wrote us off because we did lose a lot from last year, but we still have a lot of talent,” Bolding said. “Yes, they’re players, but they’ve grown up pretty quick and have played a big role for us.”
Sophomores Allison Schneider (11 kills), Karlie Spohn (10 kills, four blocks), Adrianna Powell (six kills) and Abbey Kadillak (18 digs) are among the young standouts who keyed the latest win. Upperclassmen Kaylee MacDannald (seven kills, three blocks), Olga Perez (eight digs, four aces) and Therese Ferral (36 assists) supplemented the winning cause.
Ripon 3, Ripon Christian 0
RIPON — It was all Ripon (16-5) in this non-league rivalry match, as the Indians coasted, 25-18, 25-19, 25-15.
They dominated from the service line, getting six aces each from Jordynn Russell, Alyssa Barrios and Brooke Kaiser. Caryssa McKeon (five kills), Shannon Johnson (14 assists) and Macie McPeak (eight digs) are other key contributors.
Johansen 13, Lathrop 1 (G)
Johansen 17, Lathrop 4 (B)
MODESTO — Connor Giovannoni netted two goals for the Lathrop boys. Jermaine Buckley and J.R. Stevenson chipped in one each, and Sophia Serrano accounted for the girls team’s lone goal.
Kimball 2, Manteca 1
The Buffaloes’ bid for perfection ended with the 25-12, 20-25, 15-17 defeat, but they’ve already garnered at least a share of the VOL title. They’re now 9-1 in league, 19-1 overall.
Arielle Chandler paced Manteca with eight kills and 15 assists. Isabella Pires distributed 17 assists to go with four kills and nine service points. Leilani Rios added six kills, and Kim Yu had eight.
Lathrop 2, Los Banos 0
The Spartans also secured their outright claim of the WAC title, sweeping Los Banos, 25-23, 25-18.
Camila De La Garza finished with 15 assists and six digs. Thracylie Acoba picked up 18 digs, while freshman call-up Alaba Olaleye pitched in four kills and 12 digs.
Ripon 2, Ripon Christian 1
Ripon held off its neighboring rival, 25-23, 13-25, 15-8.
Ronni McIntosh racked up 13 digs, Madison Holt served three aces and Jaeger Snyder crushed four kills.
Lathrop 2, Los Banos 0
The Spartans earned at least a title share in the WAC after toppling Los Banos, 25-9, 25-20. They can claim the crown outright in their season finale at Mountain House.
Alejandra Vazquez led the way with five aces and four assists. Mailynn Lindsey had nine digs and two kills, while Dana Mandanas turned in 11 digs.
Kimball 2, Manteca 1
Manteca lost in three sets despite a balanced effort.
Among the contributors are Jill Santos (five digs, two kills, four aces), Cecilia Lopez Sandoval (five assists, two kills, two aces), Katiela Rodriguez (10 digs, three aces), Kimberly Ordaz (six digs, three aces), Carsyn Van Zant (three blocks).
Ripon 2, Ripon Christian 0
Avery McKiernan anchored the attack with 10 kills, Eden Velasco served nine aces while Erin Jackson handed out 17 assists in the 25-11, 25-14 sweep.