Kevin Bolding is back at the helm at Manteca High, and the program’s former head volleyball coach has already drawn up a blueprint for success.
It starts with the underclassmen.
Bolding was the varsity coach over a decade ago, and he understands solid programs aren’t built in a year.
He has a handful of returners coming back, and most of them are talented 10th graders.
“We have a lot of new players, so it’s a big transition for us,” Bolding said. “Most of them are from the (sophomore) squad, but we also have four sophomores on the varsity team.”
Sophomore Morgan Miramontes will be one of the Buffaloes’ outside hitters this year.
The only difference between her and the three other sophomores is she is returning with varsity experience after playing up as a freshman last year.
Miramontes, along with junior setter Beth Aschenbrenner and senior Abi Behler, highlight Manteca’s short list of returners. Junior middle Alyssa Burch will be a newcomer making the transition from the sophomore team to the varsity level.
Bolding also expects sophomores Aryana Martinez (OH), Leah Manuleleua (OH) and Jasmine Basuil (Libero) to be contributors after playing up on the sophomore team as freshmen.
“They’ve put in a lot of time as far as practice goes,” Bolding added. “Hopefully that will pay off here. I think for some of them it’s just getting the (varsity) experience.
“But I think for most of them that won’t even phase them, they just want to play – and that’s the main thing. If we just play, we’ll be fine.”
Manteca played a scrappy, energetic brand of volleyball this past week.
The Buffaloes will need to compete with that same hustle during Valley Oak League play if they plan on improving on last year’s bottom-tier finish.
According to Bolding, and every other Manteca City school coach, Sonora and Oakdale are the teams to beat in the VOL
“They tied for first last year, and they’re both tough,” Bolding said. “We have a really strong league I’d say, from top to bottom, so it’s going to be tough whether it’s one of those two playing, or any other night.
“We have a good group as far as attitudes goes. They get along really well and it shows. When they’re playing you kind of see that, and it makes the game a lot (more fun) too. Great group of kids on the court and off the court.”
The Buffaloes’ first game is scheduled for Aug. 31, at Orestimba High Newman at the host school’s preseason tournament.
Manteca will open VOL play on Sept. 18, against East Union at Winter gymnasium at 6 p.m.
To contact John-Joel Griffiths, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.