It was a pair of Trans-Valley League sweeps for the Escalon varsity volleyball girls this past week.
Against Modesto Christian on Sept. 16, the Lady Cougars played their way to a 25-22, 25-18, 25-15 victory.
Mallory Berhorst had four aces and Gianna Bava had three blocks. Also putting together strong games were Emily Vickers with five aces and 12 kills, Mya Beary with 12 kills and Koren Rodriguez had 14 digs. Hannah Boyd notched 33 assists.
“I pulled up Mallory Berhorst and Gianna Bava from the freshman team due to injuries. They did an amazing job,” said head coach Teresa Williamson. “Mallory has been with us most of our season filling for us until our players come back. Also, Koren Rodriguez played libero since Tess (Cosby) was out. She did a great job.”
Hosting the Lady Bruins of Riverbank on Wednesday, Sept. 18, the varsity girls again got a 3-0 win but also saw the visitors play some determined volleyball and go on a few runs. In the end, it was the host team that put the longer runs together and come away with the win. Scores were 25-11, 25-20, 25-10.
Melanie Smith paced the effort with three aces, 11 kills and five blocks. Vickers served up two aces and had 11 kills, Rodriguez had 10 digs on the night. Boyd and Natalie Cortes each had 14 assists.
Winning in straight sets on Monday against Modesto Christian, the JV girls took the match, 25-12 and 25-13.
“Every girl saw the court and did well. It was a slower pace than they’re used to but they managed to finish with a solid win,” said coach Krystal Rodriguez. “If we had had less errors on our side it would have changed those scores dramatically. We learned to not get slow and comfortable next time.”
Marissa Silva had seven kills and Grace Ferreira added five. Haylee Barajas had two aces and a block, while Valeria Gonzalez had a solo block.
On the home court against Riverbank on Wednesday, the JV girls won in two, 25-14 and 25-12.
“Again everyone got to see the court and I was able to play with the lineup and positions a little. With that said, the girls definitely underestimated Riverbank and didn’t realize they’re as scrappy as they are,” Rodriguez explained. “They literally picked up everything we sent at them but my girls fought back and took their second win for the week.”
It was a match where several players had an impact, added the coach.
“Matty Bollen passed a perfect streak in left back and earned her spot as libero for next week. I am very proud of Joslyn Mangnuson and Julia Warsing for both never hesitating to go in and play for anyone, it doesn’t matter where,” said Rodriguez. “Not only did they play their position strong but they also served very well and earned us some easy points. Madison Hagglund did good on the outside and Marissa Silva and Valeria Gonzalez both had blocks and Haylee Barajas notched in 14 assists.”
Escalon’s youngest team hosted the Riverbank freshmen – the first Bruin freshman team in the last several seasons – on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
“We won in two sets, 25-8 and 25-10,” said coach Nicole Bianchi. “Rylie Lattig led in serving with eight total aces and Carsyn Hood led in assists with five total for the night. The team played a smart game and kept their energy up the entire match.”
Then it was a busy Saturday for the girls, as they traveled to Edison High School to participate in the Stockton Classic.
“Our first two matches were against Stagg and then Ben Holt,” said Bianchi. “We won both those matches in two sets.”
That saw the young Lady Cougars ready to face off against Kimball in the semifinal round. Bianchi noted that Kimball beat Enochs that day and, with her team having a loss against Enochs earlier this season, it made her girls both “very excited and a little nervous” to play Kimball.
“We lost in two sets; however the team played out of their minds. Both sets were very close,” Bianchi said. “Faye Hernandez played her first match as libero and was a true asset in the back row. Rylie Lattig and Gianna Bava had many kills against Kimball and both Gianna and Mallory Berhorst had several blocks against some very powerful Kimball players.”
The coach added that it was a good overall experience, despite the loss in the semifinal match.
“It was a highly emotional loss given how much the team wanted it, but I could not be more proud how the girls played,” Bianchi said. “We then went on to play Lathrop for third and fourth place and won in two sets. It was a great win to finish out the tournament and overall the girls powered through an amazing tournament.”
The teams were scheduled to play on the road at Ripon on Monday, Sept. 23 after The Times went to press and at Livingston on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The JV girls have a trip to the Stockton Classic scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28. Hughson will come to Escalon for league play on Monday, Sept. 30.