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After three weeks of preparing, the Central California Conference and Valley Oak League kick off tonight, and each features a key game: Los Banos at Turlock is a matchup featuring The Bee's Nos. 3 and 5 large schools, and Central Valley at defending VOL champ Oakdale. Here's one fan's view of what we should expect:
"CCC 1. Merced, coming off a tough loss should motivate them to defend title. 2. Pitman, finished non-league 3-1 only losing to Granite Bay. The last two games the Pride have been playing well and could carry into league. 3. Turlock, beating Oakdale impressive. A physical team and should challenge Merced and Pitman, but I don't see the Bulldogs going to the playoffs. 4. Los Banos, very improved passing attack and run game. However, defense gives up way too many points. 5. Buhach Colony, one of the Stanislaus District's leading rushers (Corey Chapman). The run game will be put to the test this week. 6. Atwater, there's talent and they should be competitive in some games. 7. Golden Valley, rebuilding mode. VOL -- I think Oakdale will be the favorite, but Manteca and Sonora know what it will take to beat Oakdale. Central Valley and Sierra are improving and either one could play spoiler: 1. Manteca; 2. Sonora; 3. Oakdale; 4. Central Valley; 5. Sierra; 6. Western Ranch; 7. East Union. 8. Ceres." honestguy
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TOP OF THE DAY
Top of the day
If you enjoy spending time at Tuolumne River Regional Park, and also appreciate quality cross country, this is for you. There will be four meets taking place, with teams from the Modesto Metro, Valley Oak and Trans-Valley running around the park. The top teams include Riverbank, Modesto and Sonora and racing starts at 3:30.
Modesto vs. Beyer, Downey vs. Enochs (Tuolumne River Regional Park), Davis vs. Johansen (East La Loma Park), Trans-Valley League Meet No. 2 at Tuolumne River Regional Park, Valley Oak League meet at Tuolumne River Regional Park, 3:30 p.m.; Mother Lode League meet at Valley Springs, 3:45 p.m.
Sierra Ridge at Mountain Oaks, 3:30 p.m.; Turlock Christian at Denair, Mariposa at Le Grand, 3:45 p.m.; Merced at Los Banos, Turlock at Golden Valley, Ripon at Hughson, Riverbank at Modesto Christian, 4 p.m.; Atwater at Buhach Colony, Orestimba at Patterson, 7 p.m.
Oakdale at Sierra, 3:30 p.m.
Weston Ranch at Sierra, Sonora at East Union, Central Valley at Oakdale, Stone Ridge Christian at Mountain Oaks, 6 p.m.; Mariposa at Le Grand, Turlock Christian at Denair, 6:30 p.m.; Orestimba at Patterson, Waterford at Delhi, Edison-Stockton at Ripon, 7 p.m.
STATS & STARS
Ian Roos, Pitman water polo: Scored seven goals in 19-10 victory over Los Banos.
Chris Gallardo, Modesto water polo: Scored six goals as the Panthers beat Enochs 11-8.
Fallon Clipper, Oakdale water polo: Scored five goals in Oakdale's 13-3 victory over Davis.
Jared Schanen, Downey water polo: Scored four goals as the Knights held off Johansen 11-8.
Eve Bybee, Beyer tennis: Her team lost 6-1 to Modesto, but Bybee won her match against Radhika Bali. It's one of only a handful of MMC individual matches Modesto has lost over the last four years.
Kirsten Locke and Shannon Woodward, Bret Harte golf: Each shot a 38 as the Bullfrogs beat Linden 183-228.
Shawnee Martinez, Enochs golf: Shot a 1-over-par 37 at Creekside to lead the Eagles to a 270-344 victory over Downey.
-- RICHARD T. ESTRADA