By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lady Cougars Capture Volleyball Division 3 Blue Banner
Lattig set
Escalon co-captain Rylie Lattig, 10, sets the ball as teammate Mallory Berhorst gets ready to go up to send it back over the net in Saturday night action at Modesto Junior College in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 finals. Escalon was a 3-2 winner over Christian Brothers to take home the Section title. Marg Jackson/The Times

UPDATE: Escalon entered the NorCal championships as the No. 9 seed in Division 2 and defeated No. 8 Los Altos on the road Tuesday, Nov. 8 by a 3-2 final. The girls move on to the next round, traveling to face top seed Clovis North at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10.

Two marathon matches, two victories and, ultimately, another Section title.

Escalon’s varsity volleyball girls outlasted Ponderosa 3-2 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 3 semifinals on Nov. 1 in Escalon, then traveled to face off with the No. 3 seed Christian Brothers on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Modesto Junior College.

There, top seed Escalon prevailed in a back-and-forth nailbiter of a competition, winning 3-2 against the gritty Falcons to once again hoist the blue banner.

Hosting No. 4 Ponderosa on Tuesday, scores were 25-15, 13-25, 25-19, 20-25, 16-14.

Rylie Lattig had 51 assists, three aces and 16 digs; Faye Hernandez had 28 digs. Macie Vickers added 13 digs while Emily Vickers had 20 kills and 25 digs. Gianna Bava had 10 kills, Carsyn Hood had nine kills and Lisa Murga had seen kills and two blocks.

The winning point came on a return from Ponderosa that hit out of bounds, solidifying Escalon’s trip to the finals.

The Lady Cougars had won the last two Section 4 titles so this year were moved up to Division 3 for the Sac-Joaquin playoffs.

With the final at Modesto Junior College on Saturday night, a large and vocal crowd turned out to cheer on the team. Christian Brothers also traveled well, with plenty of Falcons supporters in the stands.

The No. 3 seed Christian Brothers took the win in the first set before Escalon came back in the second; the Falcons won the third and Escalon the fourth, which set up the final set showdown. Scores were 21-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-23, 15-11.

It was again a well-rounded team effort, with contributions coming from all players.

Co-captain Lattig had 55 assists in the five-set marathon, along with two blocks, 21 digs and three aces. Co-captain Emily Vickers had 25 kills, 25 digs and five aces. Gianna Bava had 13 kills, three blocks ad three aces; Sophia Martin had eight kills on the night with one block. Mallory Berhorst had five kills and two blocks; Claire Barkus had five kills and four blocks and Hernandez had 27 digs, diving for any ball within reach.

“I think they wanted it for both,” head coach Teresa Williamson admitted of her team really wanting the win in Division 3 for the squad but also for her, in her final season as head coach for the Lady Cougars. “This was D3; it was a phenomenal coach that I was coaching against, very experienced and his girls, they never gave up either but, you know, we pulled that one out. This was a team that was strong enough all the way around; this (D3) is where we belonged this year.”

And as satisfying a win as it was, with the crowd spilling on to the floor after the presentation of the golden volleyball trophy and blue banner to take selfies with the team and exchange hugs and high fives, the girls were back at work Monday. They were preparing for the next level of play, heading to the NorCals. They were moved up to Division 2 and were seeded No. 9, with a game scheduled at Los Altos High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 after The Times went to press.

S martin
Going up to slam home the kill is junior Sophia Martin, sending the ball back over the net and just out of reach of the Christian Brothers blockers. Escalon took a hard fought 3-2 victory in the Section final on Saturday night. The No. 1 seed Lady Cougars brought home the Division 3 blue banner in defeating the No. 3 seed Falcons. Marg Jackson/The Times