The area's top boys volleyball programs from the past two years opened their 2021 schedules against each other Monday in Lathrop, with visiting Ripon Christian holding on for a 25- 18, 25-19, 27-25 sweep.
Lathrop was poised to defend its 2019 Western Athletic Conference title last spring, while the Knights had their sights set on another run to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III final before the season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
Returning standout Braden Van Groningen blasted 12 kills and four aces. Sophomore Joel Van Groningen led all players with 16 kills and seven aces. Dordt University-bound setter Lukas Van Groningen contributed 14 assists and four kills. Justin Hofman added 16 assists and three aces.
For Lathrop, fourth-year starting setter Rael Carmesis registered 15 assists and six blocks. Arman John drilled seven kills, and Tory Sumbler had 21 digs.
Manteca 3, Sierra 0
The Buffaloes made their visit to cross-town rival Sierra a short one with their 25-16, 25-21, 25-17 sweep.
Arielle Chandler orchestrated the attack with 28 assists to go with four kills and two blocks. Karlie Spohn (10 kills, six blocks) and Adrianna Powell (12 kills, 12 service points also helped power the offense. Kyaira Jacobs racked up 25 service points, four aces and four digs. Abbey Kadillak added 18 digs, nine service points and four aces.
Lathrop 29, Grace Davis 4 (5)
Lylliana Avila (three innings) and Emma Grisham (two innings) combined for the mercy-shortened four-hitter in Modesto. It was the WAC opener for both teams.
“We learned some things we needed to work on in our game against Manteca and used the practice time we had between that game and this one to improve on those mistakes,” first-year Lathrop coach Stephanie Maestretti said. “That hard work paid off today.”
The pitching tandem got more than enough run support. Shelby Aquino highlighted the onslaught with a three-run triple. Alina Fuentes finished 4 for 4, while Krystle Sakay and Grishman each went 3 for 3.
Manteca 261, East Union DQ
Oakdale 207, Manteca 261
At Oakdale Country Club, Manteca matched scores with two teams and came away with a split. East Union did not have enough players to register a team score.
Leading Manteca were Karson Condit (45), Zenon Garay (49) and Connor DePrater (52). T.J. Agueda (46) and Jayden Lopez (48) paced East Union. Oakdale's Ryan Meyer carded an even 36
Sierra 9, Ripon 1
In a battle between reigning champions from the Valley Oak League and Trans-Valley League, the Timberwolves from the VOL kicked off their season with an emphatic win last Thursday.
Leading the charge was Jocelin Roa, who amassed five goals and two assists. Jenna Villanueva had two goals and two assists. Tiana Cello added two goals and one assist. Nicole Martin and Annika Rose each had an assist. Annika Beall tallied four saves.
Sierra 10, Ripon Christian 0
On Friday, the Timberwolves had nine different goal scorers in Zoe Willson, Preeya Singh, Jenna Castro, Sutton Denny, Annika Beall, Tiana Cello, Jenna Villanueva, Annalise Paule and Jocelin Roa. Payton Abrew contributed two assists, as did Roa. Beall and Paule split time at goal for the shutout.
JV boys volleyball
Ripon Christian 2, Lathrop 0
The Spartans hung with RC before falling short, 20-25, 23-25.
Charles Reyes handed out assists, Jesse Machiara hit four kills and Lucas Baluyut chipped in three digs and three aces.
JV girls volleyball
Manteca 2, Sierra 0
Rayana Ladd (three kills, three aces and four digs), Jill Santos (three kills, three digs), Araceli Rubio (eight assists, four points) and Carsyn Vanzant (three blocks, kill) led the Buffaloes to a 25-20, 26-24 win.
Frosh girls volleyball
Manteca 2, Sierra 0
Ava Negranza served up eight aces while adding 12 assists and two kills to lift Manteca to a 25-17, 25-17 win. Corinne Jones tallied three kills, four aces and three digs. Sophia Nussbaumer finished with five kills and two digs.