Boys Volleyball Beats Buffaloes and Moves on to Round 2

Boys volleyball beat Manteca 3-1 Tuesday night and advanced to Round 2 of the CIF Sac Joaquin DII Boys Volleyball Championship. Weston Ranch will play #2 seed Woodcreek High School of Roseville tonight at 7 p.m.

“The team played one of their best games of the season, and they played with an incredible amount of energy on the court,” said head coach Rebecca Kinlaw. “I’m so incredibly proud of the team, and I am so happy that they got their first win in the playoffs on Tuesday. We had a huge crowd, and the gym was loud, so the crowd gave us a lot of energy throughout the four sets.”

After dropping the opening set 20-25 to the Buffaloes, the Cougars won the following three sets (25-21, 25-17, and 26-24) to advance to the second round. The loss in game one was a wake-up call for Weston Ranch, and they needed to regroup after a shaky start. However, the Cougars have been down one game before and went back to basics.

“We made several mistakes in the first set and lost by five points, so we came into set two with more focus,” Kinlaw said. “We lost several set ones during the season, so we knew what to do going into the second set.”

The Cougars started set two with high positive energy and were able to take advantage of the errors from Manteca. They started executing their hits at a higher percentage. Abraham Palacios and James Gelisanga got some solid kills in set two and continued throughout the remaining sets. SR. Amari Dacus’ serving sparked the Cougars’ offense all game, including three service aces.

“Amari served an incredible game,” Kinlaw said. “His serves allowed us to get on serving runs through all four sets. In set four, we were down by several points at the beginning of the set, and his serves helped us to catch back up, and that gave us the confidence to continue fighting in the fourth set when we were down. We won set four by 2 points, 26-24, so his service runs played a crucial role in helping us to secure the win.”

Eleazar Nava performed brilliantly and had 44 assists and eight digs, while Tommy Duong added 14 digs. Gelisanga had 11 kills and 17 digs. Diego Montes had three service aces and 30 digs. Palacios had 19 kills, 20 digs, and two blocks. Dacus finishes with eight kills and three digs to accompany his three service aces.

Tonight’s game at Woodcreek will be the biggest test of the year for Weston Ranch. The Timberwolves are 22-3, 10-1 at home, and ranked second in the Sac-Joaquin Section. SR. Ben Cohen led Woodcreek in digs with 507. JR. Andrew Taylor led the Timberwolves in assists with 755. As a team, Woodcreek amassed 124 blocks and had a serving percentage of 89%.

Weston Ranch will need big performances tonight from their usual stars (Palacios, Nava, and Duong), and players like Dacus and Gelisanga must continue to step up as they did on Tuesday. Kinlaw expects nothing less from her club.

“I’m proud of how well this team has played so far this season,” Kinlaw said. “They genuinely love to compete with and for each other, so I am excited that they can continue playing one more time tonight.”

The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.