Manteca coach Kevin Bolding is hoping the iron-sharpens-iron philosophy betters his team for the long haul.
The Buffaloes’ battle pitting defending league champions wasn’t much of one Thursday, as visiting Tracy rolled to a 25-15, 15-15, 25-11 win.
Manteca (10-3) filled its Valley Oak League bye with the Sac-Joaquin Section’s 10th-ranked club, according to MaxPreps. The nonleague contest came two days after dropping a five-set heartbreaker to No. 6-ranked Central Catholic, which tops the VOL with a perfect record.
“We want to play good teams,” Bolding said. “I’m not about the scores, I’m about our play. Plus, it’s another chance to play. It’s better than practice, that’s how I look at it.”
It was a clinic put on by the Bulldogs (13-3), co-champions of the daunting Tri-City Athletic League who also reached the SJS Division I semifinals and state tournament last year.
Spearheaded by senior outside hitter Cassie Corbett, Tracy attacked at various speeds and angles from front row to back. Defensively, the Bulldogs’ towering blockers were stifling at the net, and if they couldn’t get the deflection there was someone behind them to keep it in play.
Manteca could not gain any traction and mustered just 12 kills, seven from Payton Reis.
“They’re a really good team that plays at a really fast pace, and we’re trying to match that,” fourth-year Manteca setter Kaitlyn Morenzone said. “We’re still learning. Playing a team like this shows us what our flaws are and the areas where we need to get better.
“It was hard to get anything going, especially with such a tall block. We tried to adjust to what they were doing, but they were digging everything and we just couldn’t put the ball down.”
The Buffaloes looked to be up for the challenge at the outset. Game 1 was tied at 8-8 before Tracy turned its game up a notch. Middle blocker Briahna Garcia capped off the first wild rally of the night with a dink. Hard-swinging southpaw Leila Sardinha and sophomore Natalie Laiolo took turns landing big spikes for the Bulldogs, and after a kill from Devan Rose they took their first double-digit lead at 24-14.
Tracy led wire-to-wire in the second set and trailed just once in the one-sided third. The Bulldogs went on a 16-1 run capped by an ace from Teia Magoay in Game 3.
Morenzone finished with six aces and five digs for Manteca. Kacy Bolding had two kills, four assist and five digs. Abbey Kadillak tallied 18 digs.
“We had a tough week but next week’s a new week,” coach Bolding said. “The idea is for this to get us prepared. Whatever the outcome, we live with it and move on. We’re hoping it helps us. There were some things that we could build on.”
Tracy 2, Manteca 0
Tracy held on for the 25-20, 25-23 win.
Manteca was led by Sydnee Navarro’s four kills and five assists. Arielle Chandler contributed six assists, and Kyaira Jacobs had nine digs.