It may have been senior night for Manteca High at Winter Gymnasium , but the evening belonged to East Union sophomore Kiana Day.
Day hammered out a game-high 15 kills along with two blocks and an ace to lead the to a 25-21, 25-23, 25-16 sweep of the Buffaloes in the Valley Oak League finale.
“My goal for the night was 15 kills,” Day said. “This was just crazy. We are very competitive with each other and to come in here and beat them on their senior night is great for us and great for our program.
“It was a good way to finish the season.”
East Union (6-8 VOL, 7-10 overall) led for most of the evening, taking the lead for good in the first set at 3-2 on a kill by Kassandra Avila and in the third set at 3-2 on a hitting error by Manteca (8-6 VOL, 14-8).
In the second set Rhianna Genilla (nine kills, four aces and a block) helped Manteca go on a 9-0 run with three of her aces to take a 17-11 lead, but Janika Gomes had two aces in a 5-0 Lancers run to knot the score at 20-20.
Day got three of the last five points for East Union including the game-winning kill.
“We wanted to run a quick offense and just pound and go straight at them,” said Vanessa Cuellar who had 21 assists for the Lancers. “This is a rivalry, and we wanted to go out with a bang, so we just kept running our hitters quick and they put the ball down and we got the dub.”
Sophia Williams complimented Day’s offensive attack with stellar defense, netting seven blocks and 17 digs along with five kills.
“We practice a lot of defense and serve-receive,” Williams said. “We cover, but sometimes not enough. This game we definitely stepped it up and covered almost every time they hit.
“It is all about mindset. When we get down, we can get down really bad, but in this match when we lost some points we did not think we were going to lose, we thought we were going to get the next one. That is what we did – we got some five- or six-point runs and that kept us up.”
The effort by East Union was one Lancers coach Kim Brooks has been looking for all season.
“All season I have been preaching to the girls that they had to play for the person next to them that they could not play for themselves,” Brooks said. “And today they did that.
“They came together, they fought and they never gave up. This is my Lady Lancers. This is the team I knew was there down deep.”
Brooks was particularly impressed with the efforts of Day and Williams.
“She (Williams) definitely stepped it up to a whole different level,” Brooks said. “I told the girls not to go back and forth, that they needed to put the first ball away.
“I told them that they had to have their own personal goals, and to strive for the small things and in the long run big things will fall behind it. Kiana (Day) got her goal of 15 kills and although Sophie (Williams) did not get her goal of 20, she definitely made up for it with the blocks.”
Ragan Fowzer helped round out the East Union attack with five kills and a block. LaEssa Perez added 18 digs.
For the Buffaloes, Kaitlyn Morenzone had seven digs, six assists, four kills and three aces. Kacy Bolding had 10 assists and three kills and Tawny Deerinck had four kills.
Oakdale 3, Lathrop 0
At Oakdale, Lathrop (5-9, 7-16) was swept by the reigning VOL champion Mustangs (13-1, 14-5), 14-25, 19-25, 9-25.
Karina Chavez and Fasha Hayes (two blocks) set four assists apiece. Joy Bautista contributed three kills, Brittany Johnson had seven digs and Avleen Kaur added two blocks.
The Spartans ended the season with their best league record in school history under first-year head coach Heather Anderson.
“We worked hard all year long, but I think we’re laying the foundation for something to build on,” Anderson said. “Our record doesn’t describe our team. We had some close losses to some good teams, so I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Central Catholic 3, Sierra 0
Sierra (0-14, 4-19) put a scare into the Raiders (10-4, 17-7) at the start but ended up losing, 24-26, 10-25, 8-25.
Vanessa Benham (three kills) and Lindsey Walljasper each had two blocks to lead the front line. Emma Brierly had 11 assists and two kills. Alexus Surnip chipped in two kills and a block.
East Union 2, Manteca 0
Angelica Mercado dished out 16 assists for the Lancers in a 25-17, 25-19 win.
Jaidyn Valencia added 13 digs for East Union and Lydia Lumley had five kills.
Kerren Zov led the Buffaloes with six service points and six digs. Emma Kadillak added four assists and four kills, Kaley Miller had nine digs and Alexia Raya three kills.
Manteca 2, East Union 0
MaryAnn Bueno tallied 13 digs for the Buffaloes in their 25-20, 25-15 sweep.
Manteca’s Jayda Jackson added four assists, two aces and a kill with Ella Washburn and Yanki Ma chipped in two aces apiece.
Addee Anaya had four service points and two aces for the Lancers.