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Ripon volleyball, Manteca tennis get top seeds for SJS postseason
PREPS--SJS playoffs file 1
Samantha McCreath, center, huddles up with the rest of the Ripon volleyball team during a recent Trans Valley League match. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

The Manteca girls tennis and Ripon volleyball teams earned the top seeds in their respective brackets for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Both begin play today.

Ripon’s boys water polo team is seeded third in its defense of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title. Ripon Christian volleyball is No. 3 in Division V. Sierra tennis joins rival Manteca in the SJS Division III tournament but gets a tough first-round test.

Manteca (16-1) seeks its first-ever section banner in girls tennis. The Buffaloes square off with River Valley (13-4), the third-place team out of the Tri-Country Conference. River Valley made program history in the out-bracket match Monday, toppling Ceres 7-2 for the first postseason win in its 11-year existence.

Sierra (10-4) tied with Oakdale for second place in the VOL but lost the coin flip that determined seedings for both teams. While Oakdale gets to host Western Athletic Conference runner-up Pattrson today, Sierra travels to West Sacramento to take on TCC champion River City, which lost to Central Catholic 5-4 in each of the last two SJS Division III finals.

WAC titlist Los Banos takes on TCC No. 2 Pioneer, with the winner facing Manteca or River Valley in the semifinals next Monday, Nov. 7. All postseason matches start at 2 p.m.

With defending champion Sonora moving up to Division III, Ripon (19-4) is a heavy favorite in the Division IV bracket where Trans Valley League rival Hilmar (20-12) — the Indians have beaten the Yellowjackets twice — is the No. 2 seed. Tonight starting at 7, Ripon squares off with No. 16 Orestimba (17-15), which downed Amador in five games in the play-in match.

No. 4 Central Catholic (17-7), the third-place team out of the VOL, looms as a potential semifinal opponent for the Indians down the road. Ripon is vying for its fifth section title, last winning in 2010 after four straight runner-up finishes.

Ripon Christian (20-10) holds the section record with 15 titles, claiming five in succession from 2007-11.The Knights are back in Division V for a second straight year after spending three in Division IV. Last year they were upset by 12th-seeded Golden Sierra in the opening round.

Ripon Christian is looking for a better result under first-year head coach Jocelyn Benziger, who led the Knights to their seventh consecutive Southern League title. They’ll take on either No. 6 Hughes Academy (17-2) or Millennium (9-12) on Thursday.

Undefeated Capital Christian (19-0) is the top seed, while Bradshaw Christian (24-10), which has reached the last three section finals, is No. 2. The Division IV and V finals take place either Nov. 10 or 12 at Tokay High in Lodi.

Ripon’s boys water polo team (13-8) plays host to Western Athletic Conference champion Livingston (7-3) Thursday at 3:30 p.m. No. 2 Christian Brothers (15-10) or No. 7 El Dorado (13-5) face the winner in the semifinals  scheduled for next Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Johansen High in Modesto. 

Valley Oak League champion Sonora (19-7) is the top-seeded team. Sonora lost to Ripon in the title match last year, 13-3.