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Tourney time for TWolves
Sierra heads to Sac-Joaquin Section Championships
Sierra High senior Liz Brown makes her presence felt in the Timberwolves’ Valley Oak League Season ending win over Manteca High Wednesday.
Once the Manteca High volleyball team scored the final point of its third game victory over Sierra things changed in a hurry, giving the Timberwolves a season-sweep over the Buffaloes and a 3-1 Valley Oak League win over their crosstown rival.

Sierra (11-5 VOL, 16-6 overall) had little trouble with Manteca in the first game and fought them off in the second, but had a major let down in the third game, dropping  its first match to the Buffaloes on the season.

“It wasn’t like we were hoping to get out in three games,” Sierra head coach Tevani Liotard said. “I put my senior starters in and they played two phenomenal games, then I said senior night’s over and I put my normal starting lineup in.

“They didn’t play hard, so I went back to my senior lineup.”

That fared just fine for the Timberwolves as they finished off a 25-7, 25-22, 23-25, 25-6 win — ending the Buffaloes season and launching Sierra into the Sac-Joaquin Section Volleyball Championships.

“First game and last game was almost the same team for us,” Manteca head coach Tim Horning said. “There were just too many errors on our part. In the second game we gave them a run for their money and in the third game we were just on.”

Manteca fought the good fight in the third game, outscoring Sierra down the stretch of the match behind timely assists from Davina Bennett and a pair of clutch digs from Abigail Rosas.

“In that game we were making them make mistakes versus us making the mistakes,” Horning said. “That was the big difference. What team was going to make the errors and what team wasn’t.

“In that first game they came out hot and we had a hard time getting the ball in bounds.”

Sierra looked like a team poised to close out the VOL season on a high note, jumping to a double-digit lead just as the match began. The Timberwolves would cool off, but even in the midst of working through a senior-night lineup it was obvious who the superior team was.

Now they will have to put their focus on the Division III volleyball bracket in hopes of continuing their season for at least another couple of weeks.

“The verdict is supposed to be out on Friday,” Liotard said of her squad’s postseason itinerary. “So hopefully we will find out then. Right now we’re the No. 15 (seed), hopefully we will move up and see who our next opponent is.”

Manteca (7-9 VOL, 18-21 overall) loses seven seniors to graduation, putting a lot of pressure on the returning juniors to have a positive impact next season. With the VOL boasting a handful of quality volleyball programs, wins did not come easy for the Buffaloes, but they did come.

“We had a good season,” Horning said. “We would have liked to make it to the playoffs, but nonetheless I think we played hard all year.

“It was kind of a roller coaster ride, but at least we took one from Sierra.”

Sierra was led by Jasolynn Liotard and her game-high 15 kills, eight blocks and 11 digs and teammate Modesty Rodriguez dished out 29 assists, seven service points and eight digs. Senior Liz Brown had an impressive performance, finishing with 12 service points and five kills for the Timberwolves.

Manteca was led by Bennett’s 21 assists, Dallas Mould’s four kills and four blocks and Rosas’ team-high nine digs.

Postseason action will get underway Tuesday, sending Sierra on the road to begin its quest for the section’s division III title.

“I told them last week we were in the playoffs,” Liotard said. “Tonight I told them we have practice tomorrow and Friday and we play Tuesday. They asked what about Monday games and I told them Monday games are done. Then they wanted to know who we played and I told them I don’t know yet.

“It’s just like riding a bicycle, we know what we’re doing we just have to continue to perfect and get better confidence.”

East Union 3, Weston Ranch 0
The Lancers closed out the 2009 season on a high note, blowing past Weston ranch 25-20, 25-12, 25-15 for their sixth win in VOL play.

Brittany Anet LaMar turned in a game-high seven kills, while teammate Gianna Hedin led the club with 13 assists. Courteny Palmer chipped in seven digs and Haley Rosenthall had five kills and three aces.

“The seniors stepped up tonight,” Lancer head coach Eryn Bowers said. “They really left everything out on the court. Everyone played and performed in one way or another.

“It was a perfect way to end the season.”

The Cougars were led by Anais Castillo who finished with eight assists, DeArbia Gardner’s five kills and three aces and teammate Andrea Vega added five digs.

Ceres 3, Lathrop 0
The Bulldogs came into Lathrop and got a quality fight, but still won in three handling the Spartans 12-25, 12-25, 23-25 to close out the VOL season.

Lathrop put together a valiant fight, giving the program something to build on in the season’s to come.

“Tonight we fell short,” Lathrop head coach Angela Cuellar said. “But we did go out there and put up a fight.”

Lathrop was led by the play of Britney Rallios who amassed 17 digs to pace the club. Janel Butler finished with 27 assists, 13 digs, four aces and five kills, while teammate Cecelia Lopez closed out the season with eight kills.