| Even the champs can have an off night. And the Sonora Wildcats most definitely did not play their best volleyball Tuesday night.
Robert Winters / Union Democrat Sonora sophomore Riley Patterson smashes a kill Tuesday past the block attempt of Sutter’s Rebakkah McLaughlin in the first round of the CIF State Girls’ Volleyball Championships at Bud Castle Gym. The Wildcats won 3-0.
But the three-time Sac-Joaquin Section division IV and defending state champs had plenty in their tank to take care of Sutter at Bud Castle Gym.
The No. 3 Wildcats swept the No. 6 Huskies 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-9) in the first round of the CIF State Girls’ Volleyball Championships and will play the No. 2 Marin Catholic Wildcats, a private school from Kentfield, near San Rafael, at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The top seed Sonora Wildcats will play Saturday to try and earn the school’s second football section title.
The Wildcats will meet the No. 6 Bear River Bruins at 1 p.m. at Elk Grove High School in the final of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championships.
Last season, The Wildcats reached the division IV final and were defeated 42-35 by Central Catholic, who is in the division III semifinals this year.
| In front of a loud, boisterous crowd, the Sonora Wildcats claimed their third straight volleyball championship Saturday in Lodi.
Robert Winters / Union Democrat The 2015 Sonora Wildcats pose with their Sac-Joaquin Section championship blue and white banner Saturday after defeating the Hilmar Yellowjackets at Tokay High School in Lodi for their third straight crown.
A large Sonora contingent chanted and taunted the larger Hilmar crowd and helped push the top seed Wildcats past the No. 2 Yellowjackets 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-21) in the final of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championships at Tokay High School.
Jumper Nation was in full force Saturday night at the Oak Pavilion to support the Columbia Claim Jumpers against the Gavilan Rams. Behind 45 combined points from DeAndre Stallings and Bostan Van Der Veur, the Jumpers easily took care of the Rams 90-53.
Guy Dossi / Union Democrat Columbia’s Michael Meserole shoots in traffic Saturday vs. Gavilan.
“I was feeling great tonight,” said Stallings, who finished the night with a game-high 25 points. “It was a team game tonight. Franny (assistant coach Rick Francis) helped me a lot and made me get into the gym and worked on my shot. He changed some things on my shot and it worked.”
| The Calaveras Redskins are four quarters, 48-minutes away from playing in the final of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division IV Championships. The only thing that stands in front of the Redskins and their first trip back to the section title game since 2010 is the Sierra Timberwolves of the Valley Oak League.
Guy Dossi / Union Democrat Calaveras senior quarterback Dylan Byrd (left) and head coach Jason Weatherby discuss strategy Wednesday at practice on Frank Meyer Field.
The No. 3 Timberwolves enter tonight’s game with a 6-5 overall record, but defeated Union Mine last Friday 24-21 to reach tonight’ssemifinal. Sierra finished fifth in the competitive VOL with all four teams ahead of it earning playoff spots. But for Calaveras head coach Jason Weatherby, he doesn’t take lightly any team finishing fifth in the VOL.
| The Sonora Wildcats will have to build their section championship football dreams without their hammer.
Sonora senior linebacker/ guard and co-captain Blake Graham (above) breaks through the scout team defense Thursday during practice at Dunlavy Field. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat
Junior star linebacker/fullback and co-captain Bradley Canepa was sidelined with injury for the last two games, including Sonora’s first round playoff victory last Friday over the Marysville Indians, and won’t play another down this season as the Wildcats play their Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championships semifinal at 7 tonight against the undefeated Orestimba Warriors at Dunlavy Field.
| There was one name that was on the tip of the tongue of every Sonora volleyball player and coach Wednesday during practice at Bud Castle Gym — Emily.
Guy Dossi / Union Democrat Sonora’s Kiana Pisula sets Wednesday at practice.
“That is where Emily will hit it,” could be heard on one end of the court. “This is what Emily likes to do,” said from the other side of the gym. “This is what we need to have happen to stop Emily,” Sonora head coach Kim Evans constantly reminded her players.
The notorious Emily is Emily Baptista, Hilmar’s 6-foot-2 senior phenom who has already committed to continue her volleyball career next fall at the University of the Pacific.
| After dropping two games in a row, the Columbia Claim Jumpers needed a win to put its season back on track. Behind a strong defensive effort and 17 points from Kashmiere Hughes, the Jumpers knocked off William Jessup JV 71-56 Thursday night at the Oak Pavilion.
Guy Dossi / Union Democrat Columbia College head coach Rob Hoyt patrols the sideline Thursday in the Claim Jumpers 71-56 win over William Jessup JV at Oak Pavilion
The win puts Columbia at an even 3-3 with a chance to go above .500 with Gavilan coming to town Saturday.
Cold water, wide open spaces and swimming around buoys inspired 17 Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmers to participate in seven open water events throughout the season.
TCAM swimmers were awarded for their accomplishments on the recently published Pacific Masters Open Water individual and team awards.
The swimmers raced at distances ranging from one mile to 10K in lakes and in the Pacific Ocean. The swim venues included Spring Lake, Lake Berryessa, Lake Del Valle, Santa Cruz, Donner Lake, Whiskeytown Lake and Keller Cove in the San Francisco Bay.
| The Columbia Claim Jumpers return to action tonight against William Jessup JV at Oak Pavilion. The Jumpers have dropped their last two games, with the latest a heartbreaking 89-84 overtime loss to San Joaquin Delta College Tuesday night. Columbia is averaging 56 points per game with a season-high 84 against Delta. Sophomore Michael Meserole is leading the Jumpers with 19.8 points per game. Lewayne Grant is averaging 14.8, while Kashmiere Hughes is averaging 14 and DeAndre Stallings is averaging 10. Stalling and Hughes are the Jumpers rebound hounds, averaging six and five rebounds per game respectively. Columbia will host Gavilan on Saturday before having a week off between games. Tip-off for tonight and Saturday is set for 6 p.m.
Guy Dossi / Lonzel Lewis participates in a light workout Wednesday during a shoot around at the Oak Pavilion.
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