The Sierra High Timberwolves had nothing to lose in Monday’s crosstown rematch at East Union.
Simply put, they hadn’t won a single match in the inaugural season of boys volleyball in the Valley Oak League.
All that changed midway through the contest celebrating senior night for the Lancers.
“It all came together,” said Timberwolves coach Michelle Springmeyer after her team pulled out the victorshy in the five-game match, 11-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-21, 15-9.
Initially, it looked as if Sierra (1-9 VOL, 2-16 overall) was looking at an early exit after sloppy play coupled with a solid team effort by the Lancers (2-7, 4-17) in that first game.
Anthony Parcells and Fernando Rodriguez were the big hitters for East Union with four and three kills, respectively.
A spike by Kyle Niendorf have the Lancers a commanding 21-5 lead.
It looked much the same for East Union in the second game after Jack Weaver served up a pair of aces at the onset.
But Sierra saw momentum swing in its favor even as lead teetered back in forth.
Cyrus Hunter and Arshdeep Singh had a couple of key kills while a block by Erick Cuevas Del Rio produced the game point.
Both teams split the next two games, setting up the first-to-15 decisive fifth game.
This was unchartered territory for the Timberwolves.
“We had made it to four games before but never to five,” Springmeyer said. “We had this great opportunity and we took advantage of it.”
Sierra jumped out to a 7-2 lead while taking advantage on some East Union miscommunication plays and passing woes.
But the Lancers battled. Parcells’ block but the deficit, 13-9.
Hunter, who was on the spot as server for Sierra, was suddenly in a position to give his team that game, set and match.
“I was nervous. But I was able to keep my composure,” he recalled.
Hunter ended the game with an ace, giving the Timberwolves an historic win.
All told, he had six kills, four aces, and three digs during the match.
Lance Vann came through with 22 assists while Dylan Payan had eight digs.
Singh finished with six kills, two digs and five aces.
Weaver led East Union with 15 assists to go with six aces and four kills.
Parcells had six kills, five blocks and five aces.
Rodriguez finished with eight kills and four blocks, Zach Carter served up five aces, and Devin Abrew chipped in with three blocks and four aces.
Manteca 3, Kimball 1
The Buffaloes (9-0, 15-2) secured the outright claim to the VOL championship at Winter Gym on Monday.
They shook off some early rust and steam rolled to a 24-26, 25-13, 25-11, 25-22 win over Kimball (6-3, 12-5), which drops to third place.
We didn’t start as well as we should have,” Manteca coach Kevin Bolding said. “After that first game we really god going. We did a really good job of picking up our defense. That phase of the game was huge for us and everything else kind of worked off of it.”
Manteca had many key contributors. Setter Johnny Borres (four aces, five kills, 12 assists, 11 digs) and Kylan Chandler (three aces, seven, kills, 15 digs, three blocks) were the top overall performers.
The three-headed middle comprising of Armando Martinez (six kills, four blocks), Cameron Reis (eight kills, five blocks) and Tydus Verhoeven (seven kills, six blocks) also came up big.
Setter Oswaldo Garcia added 14 assists, four kills and two aces. Libero Joseph Borres collected 25 digs.