Tracy volleyball team eyes second place in SJAA
by Bob Brownne
Oct 17, 2013 | 2461 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bulldogs topple the Titans
Tracy High junior Jenna Wesely (right) fires a shot against Chavez High on Monday, Oct. 14, at Tracy High.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Tracy High’s volleyball team is off to a good start in the San Joaquin Athletic Association, setting itself up for a second-place standing in the league.

The latest triumph was a 3-0 victory at home over the Chavez Titans. Tracy (8-2, 3-1 SJAA) won two close sets and dominated the third to win 25-21, 25-15, 25-8.

Sophomore outside hitter Grace Murphy said her team’s success early in the season has given the Bulldogs the confidence they need to beat their toughest rivals, Lincoln and Lodi, in the upcoming second half of the league season.

"It’s a better season than last year, and I think this year we have a lot more talent," Murphy said.

Monday’s first and second sets were back-and-forth contests at first. Both times senior Jenna Wesely and junior Jillian Bessette came to the service line and gave the Bulldogs a solid lead.

Tracy controlled the third set from the start and charged ahead with strong serving from junior Mika Fithian and Michelle Laiolo, backed by solid shots and blocks from junior Melanie Balaban, who totaled six kills for the night.

Junior Ashley Way had five kills for the night, and Murphy provided support with strong blocks at the net. Junior Casey Eddy-Berry, with 11 digs, defended against Chavez’ shots.

Coach Mahina Tankersley said that key wins for her team so far include a 3-2 win over Lodi on Oct. 7. Tracy also hoped to log a win over Bear Creek after press time Thursday, Oct. 17, to affirm its hold on second place behind Lincoln at the midway point of the SJAA season.

The next matches at home against Lodi (Wednesday, Oct. 23) and Lincoln (Oct. 28) will determine if Tracy will earn a good seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and make a run for the league title.

"We’re definitely going to have a tough game against Lodi, as we did in the first round," Tankersley said. "Now the girls know they can beat them, and I hope they take that with them into the second time they meet them. Lincoln’s a really tough team, and now we have to prepare."

Sonora 3, Kimball 0

The Jaguars were outmatched by Valley Oak League leader Sonora on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Kimball High.

The loss in three sets, 25-13, 25-15, 25-10, left the Jaguars (16-15, 6-3 VOL) in third place in the league, while Sonora (18-3, 9-0 VOL) maintained its perfect league record.

Kimball benefitted from solid shots from senior Samantha Sanders and sophomore Kaylyn Smollack and blocking from senior Iris Nelson and Sarah Nunes to keep the second set close, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Sonora’s blocking and ball control.

Nelson has three kills, Nunes had nine assists and senior ZaNiah Bradshaw had 15 digs.

Kimball started the week with a 3-0 win on Monday at home against Weston Ranch. Nelson totaled nine kills and junior Sarah Nunes provided 19 assists and seven digs as they won it with scores of 25-11, 25-14, 25-20.

West 3, Stagg 0

The West High volleyball team affirmed its hold on third place at the midway point of Tri-City Athletic League play with a win at Stagg High in Stockton on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

St. Mary’s and Tokay lead the league.

West (15-8, 3-2 TCAL) beat Stagg with scores of 25-13, 25-17, 25-21.

Junior Gissel Larios led the Wolf Pack at the service line with four aces. Senior Merinesa Saaga and junior Kate Bell logged six kills each, and Larios had 20 assists. Senior Megan Toon had 13 digs, and sophomore Sarah Weaver had 11 digs.

West also claimed a 3-0 win at Edison High in Stockton on Oct. 10. Saaga led the team with 11 kills, and Bell had eight kills and 20 digs.

Delta Charter 3, Don Pedro 0

The Delta Charter girls traveled to La Grange on Tuesday, Oct. 15, for a Mountain Valley League win over the Don Pedro Panthers.

The Dragons (4-9, 3-8 MVL) won in three, 25-13, 29-27, 25-19.

Leading the way was sophomore Dominique Kahoonei, who scored 10 aces for the night. Senior Charilyn Merritt, scored five aces and was also the Dragons’ lead attacker.

Brookside Christian 3, Millennium 1

The Falcons (4-11, 3-4 CCAA) started off tough against the visiting Brookside Christian Knights on Oct. 10 at Williams Middle School. The Knights finished by setting up hard shots at the net and taking advantage of gaps in the Millennium defense to win in four sets, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24, 25-13.

Senior Bethel Zelalem led the Falcons from the service line with seven aces, and leading attacker was Kelly Lee with seven kills. Senior Madison Carroll provided 11 assists, and senior Drew Robbins had 12 digs on defense.

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or

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