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Lady Cougars Handle Ripon In Four Games
In their most exciting match of the season so far, the varsity Escalon Lady Cougars played to a 3-1 win Thursday at home against Ripon.

The win knotted the teams at 9-1 in the league standings and pushed Escalon ahead of Ripon in the Division IV power ratings, putting them in third place in the power ratings to Ripon's current fourth place showing.

Power ratings help determine playoff seedings at the end of the season.

"We've been working hard defensively and we out dug them, plus our serving was tough," head coach Teresa Williamson said of getting the thrilling win against Ripon in round two play on the Trans-Valley League schedule. "We just really tightened up on defense to catch their tips, they only had a couple fall."

Kaitlyn Brayton knocked down 23 kills in a monster effort, while Katie Aprile delivered an amazing 41 assists and notched two aces. Not to be outdone, libero Lindsey Anderson came up with 41 digs on the night.

"Kristi Rigg was a key player in this match, even though the stats don't show it. Defensively, serving and offensively, she played out of her mind," Williamson explained. "They (Ripon) were double, triple blocking Kaitlyn sometimes and Katie set very smart, especially to Kristi on the right side."

Escalon took game one on Thursday night 25-17 but Ripon got the equalizer in game two, 19-25. The next two games were also tight, but Escalon prevailed with scores of 25-18, 25-21.

"We made errors so we'll just work to get better," Williamson said. "We'll watch the film and see where we made mistakes."

Watching film of Ripon was important to taking the win, she added, as the Escalon girls familiarized themselves with the game plan of the Indians.

"It was huge overall," Williamson said of her team getting the win and pulling even with Ripon in the TVL standings. "I think it opened their eyes to just how great a team they are, they're very athletic."

Earlier in the week, the varsity squad put away Modesto Christian in three, 25-17, 25-14, 25-18.

"They had one outside hitter that was giving us problems," Williamson said of the relatively close scores. "We passed well, served well and got a few good blocks."

Brayton had 14 kills and three aces, Aprile had 26 assists and Anderson had 27 digs, while Morgan Jensen added a pair of key blocks.

"If you can, you want to get it done in three," Williamson said of the solid effort, winning in 3-0 fashion.

The girls were slated to play at Ripon Christian in a Monday night contest, Oct. 19 after the Times went to press and will be at home to host Hughson on Thursday, Oct. 22. The Ripon Christian game opened up the third and final round of TVL play and Escalon will work to keep their record at just one loss, looking at a showdown with Ripon in the final game of the regular season.

"We do look at the big picture and at the playoffs," Williamson said, noting that her team has a goal of making a run into the second season. "Ripon forces you to play at a higher level."

Hopefully, she said, the team can keep that type of attitude as they play their way to the end of the regular season, aiming to end on a high note.