Manteca’s greatest challenge so far during this dominant start to the 2021 season has been to maintain its intensity and level and play in every set of every match.
On Monday, the Buffaloes once again outgunned the opposition, quickly dispatching visiting rival East Union 25-3, 25-14, 25-11. They’re perfect through four Valley Oak League matches and 13-0 overall but are aware that they are far from reaching their goals.
Manteca is aiming for its 10th VOL crown and first since 2017, but the ultimate goal is to hoist the first Sac-Joaquin Section championship banner for the first time in program history.
“We just want to make sure we’re playing our game with our energy and our tempo,” Manteca senior libero Abbey Kadillak said. “We try to differentiate ourselves from whoever we’re playing and make sure we’re playing at our level. Every game is the same and we don’t take any team for granted. If we just play our game the whole time we’ll be fine.”
Mission accomplished on Monday, for the most part. The Buffs flexed their quality in the opening set against shorthanded East Union (0-4 VOL), which had four starters sit the match for disciplinary reasons. Game 1 ended with aces from Camrenne Genilla and Adrianna Powell, but Manteca did have its struggles from the service line. The near-perfect start was marred by two service errors and a net violation, all of which accounted for the Lancers’ only points. Manteca finished with nine missed serves.
“They tend to let down after the first game and the serves break down — that’s what happened tonight,” Manteca coach Robin Chandler said. “Luckily, I have a deep enough bench with strong servers to sub out anyone who is struggling. Tonight, everyone got (playing time) and I like being able to get everyone in.”
Kadillak is among the Buffaloes’ most aggressive servers, and while she did miss one early the fourth-year starter finished with a match-high eight aces — four in succession to give Manteca a 7-1 lead in the third set. She also racked up 28 digs.
Veteran middle Karlie Spohn imposed her will at the net, swatting 11 kills. Adrianna Powell had eight kills and seven digs, Leilani Rios added three kills and three blocks, and Aurora Ceol had three kills and a block. Setter Arielle Chandler tallied 27 assists and six digs.
East Union showed some fight early in Game 2, leading 2-0 following a kill from Bella Israel. Ceol gave Manteca the lead for good at 8-7. Michaela Singh closed out the final set with a seven-point service run that included two aces.
Meritiana Luani registered 10 digs for EU. Makayla Viri had three aces and five digs. Mariela Navarro came up with four blocks.
“Tonight was a hard because four of our six starters were out because of grade checks,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “The girls had to be taught a lesson. We’re not just developing volleyball players, we’re developing young women to be good people outside of volleyball.”
Manteca 2, East Union 0
The Buffaloes held on for the 25-22, 25-22 victory.
Carsyn Van Zant and Danielle Grabowski led the attack with six and four kills, respectively. Emily Inderbitzin served six aces. Rayana Ladd paced the defense with six digs.
For East Union, Giselle Velazquez accumulated five kills, while Jatziry Garcia rapped four kills to go with three aces. Marcella Carrenza contributed seven assists and four aces. Giselle Hamilton collected six digs.
Manteca 2, East Union 0
Amil Gaskin blasted five kills, and Rylee Eberle tallied five aces as Manteca rolled to a 25-13, 25-13 win.
Nicole Ayala anchored the defense and chipped in three aces to the attack.