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VOLLEYBALL: Weston Ranch on pace for VOL championship
Bulletin boys volleyball 2019
Weston Ranch's Raul Melgarejo hits into the defense of Manteca's Zach Huffstutler (8) and Rovick Hombrebueno (2). - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

STOCKTON — Weston Ranch setter Mailo Bayot can be sneaky.
After racking up 23 assists Wednesday, the last two times he touched the ball Manteca was looking for him to make a set — he made a couple of kills instead for two of the last four Cougars points in a 25-22, 25-20, 25-21 Valley Oak League sweep.
“Coach is always pushing me to set it over so I can get an easy kill,” Bayot said. “Our offense played very well and was able to keep us in the game.”
Lawrence Williams (four kills) came up for Weston Ranch (5-0 VOL, 11-2 overall) in the first set. With the score tied for the 10th time at 22, a kill by Williams put the Cougars ahead, 23-22. An unforced error by Manteca (2-3, 6-7) gave Weston Ranch match point and Williams tallied another kill to end the match.
“I just try and come out here and play hard,” Williams said. “And it starts with that back row.
 “We get a good pass back there and I can get going. I feed off of that.”
Armondo Mendoza tallied eight blocks and six kills for the Cougars. Josh Ico added eight kills and four blocks, Raul Melgarejo made six blocks and Jimmy Nguyen added 20 digs.
“It always starts with a good pass and then it goes to my setter,” Mendoza said. “And the setter tries to give me the best he can so I can go up and nail it.”
Weston Ranch remains in first place with three matches to go, and the Cougars face second-place East Union next Wednesday. Weston Ranch gave East Union its lone league loss.
“This feels really good,” Cougars coach Debi Chavez said. “We are finally coming together and working together, but we still need to pick our energy up especially in the first game.”
Alejandro Tornero led Manteca with 11 kills. Steven Aguilar added 18 digs, Rovick Hombrebueno dished out 20 assists and Zach Huffstutler made five kills and three blocks.
“The difference was they kept the ball in play and we didn’t,” Buffaloes coach Kevin Bolding Jr. said. “They kept it in play and they waited for us to make mistakes and we made a lot of mistakes.
“We struggled from the service line with 10 service errors. We have struggled to serve the ball well all year long.”

Junior varsity
Manteca 2, Weston Ranch 0

Robert Aranda was dominant in the net for the Buffaloes in their 25-7, 25-18 win.
Marlon Guardado had 11 service points for Manteca. Alex Padilla added 16 assists and Daniel Pedroza made five digs.
Jacob Lagudas played well in the front line for the Cougars. Sammy Seng did a good job setting and libero Shamar Dacus hustled for a lot of digs.