The Sonora High School girls volleyball team pushed through a first-set funk to topple the Manteca Buffaloes Tuesday night 24-26, 25-10, 25-20, 25-11.

“We started really slow and things just weren’t clicking for us,” said head coach Amy Wahlbrink.

The Wildcats struggled on serve-receive at the start of the game. And the Buffaloes were able to capitalize on some holes in Sonora’s defense.

That’s when the girls made adjustments and started to dominate on both offense and defense.

Wahlbrink gives credit to the electric atmosphere at Bud Castle gym.

The Wildcat fans showed up. Sonora High School’s Golden Regiment band was there. And Manteca travelled well, bringing an extra element of excitement.

Credit also goes to senior Maddie Fong.

Wahlbrink said Fong stepped up and brought a needed energy to the equation.

Her positive attitude and encouragement helped the team rally after dropping the first set.

“She did it all,” Wahlbrink.

While the contribution won’t show up in a stat book, it definitely pushed the team to victory.

The Wildcats usually rely on their outside hitters, Wahlbrink said. But Tuesday’s win was a different story.

“Our middle blockers really carried our team,” she said.

That’s where senior Molly O’Reilly showed up.

“Molly had her best hitting game of the year,” Wahlbrink said.

She had 15 kills, three blocks, five digs and six assists.

Senior Sarah Rosasco carried major weight on blocking, too. She led the team with eight total blocks.

Senior Riley Patterson had 11 kills, two aces, six total blocks and 28 digs.

Brittney Canepa led the team on aces with four on the night. She also had five digs.

Wahlbrink and the team had been hoping for a chance at a rematch against Christian Brothers, the team responsible for knocking out the ‘Cats in sections last year.

But El Dorado beat the No. 3 seeded Falcons.

El Dorado is the No. 10 seed in Division III and also cruised through No. 2 on their way to the final with Sonora. That was somewhat of a surprise.

“They weren’t even on my radar,” Wahlbrink said.

After some preliminary scouting, Wahlbrink said Sonora appears to be fairly evenly matched with the Cougars.

“They’re obviously a very strong team,” she said.

The Sonora girls varsity volleyball team will play El Dorado at Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. at Gregori High School in Modesto.