LUCAS BEHEM, Hilmar soccer
The folks who follow Hilmar High take their soccer pretty seriously, but their devotion pales compared to the expectations of soccer fans in Hamburg, Germany.
"In Germany, I play on a club team that is very serious because we are always competing for starting spots and the chance to move to a different team," said Behem, an exchange student who is spending his junior year at Hilmar. "Everyone has their own plan.
But playing at Hilmar is great fun. It's very much a team, everyone supporting each other."
Behem certainly enjoyed last week, scoring two goals in a 7-0 win over Gustine and getting two goals and an assist in a 9-1 win over Orestimba, keeping the 'Jackets in the race for the Western Athletic Conference title.
"When I wrote to my exchange student organization, I told them I wanted a high school which played soccer," Behem said. "I'm making great friends at Hilmar."
KRYSTA CLARK, East Union golf
A year ago, Clark was a steady player whose achievements were overshadowed by her team's success as the Lancers won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV
championship. East Union is playing even better this year, and there's no overlooking the junior's consistent play.
Clark's 1-over 73 at Manteca Park Golf Course earned her the individual crown and lifted EU to the team title at the Sierra Invitational. She consistently shoots in the mid- to high-30s during her par-36, nine-hole league matches.
"Eighteen holes is more difficult because our girls are conditioned mentally and physically to play nine holes," coach Brian Goulart said. "She distances herself from other players in 18-hole matches because of (her) mental edge."
Clark's work with the driver has improved, Goulart said, and that has led to longer, more accurate drives.
BRAD FULLER, Johansen water polo
Fuller is always a threat on the counterattack, using his speed and powerful arm to take advantage of a defense that is in disarray.
The goal this year, however, is to get him involved in the set offense, coach Brent Bohlender said.
"We're working to expand his offensive and defensive abilities," Bohlender said. "He's very good in the counterattack, but he's got to work harder at becoming a complete offensive player."
Fuller took another step in his development last week, scoring seven goals in a 14-4 victory over Modesto and five in a 17-2 win over Beyer, keeping Johansen atop the Modesto Metro Conference.
He spent the summer with the Modesto-Stanislaus Water Polo Club -- he was challenged on a daily basis.
"In club polo, you're with kids who are of equal, it not better, ability than you," Bohlender said. "You get pushed and the competition forces you to improve."
BRIANA GIAMPAOLI, Le Grand volleyball
At the start of the season, Giampaoli looked around at her teammates and didn't see many familiar faces. The junior middle hitter was the lone returner from the varsity -- the other 11 players had been seniors -- and realized quite quickly that she would need to provide leadership.
She's done that, and then some.
"Briana is my team captain. She is a leader on and off the court," said coach Gia Priddell. "She's an aggressive player with great reflexes ... and brings a lot of intensity to the court."
Giampaoli had seven kills, eight service points and a dig in a four-game win over Waterford, and 13 kills, 12 service points and two digs in a three-game sweep of Denair, keeping the Bulldogs atop the Southern League.
"I was not expecting any miracles with one returning player," Priddell said. "This team has great chemistry. The bottom line is that they have fun."
-- RICHARD T. ESTRADA