Opening up the Trans-Valley League season with a pair of games this week, Escalon split their varsity matches. The girls won at home against Riverbank on Tuesday, then headed out on the road and lost a tough one at Ripon.
On the home court for the Sept. 13 TVL opener, they handled the visiting Riverbank Lady Bruins in straight sets, 25-20, 25-12, 25-13.
In the victory, Jaden Scott had eight kills and Hannah Murphy added seven. Brielle Arauza notched 23 assists while Kaitlyn Herrera had six aces. Also contributing were Natalie Bianchi with 13 digs and Jordin Jensen with two blocks.
Escalon made some adjustments after a close game one to get past the Riverbank squad more easily in games two and three.
On the road at Ripon, Escalon started off strong with a 25-22 win but then couldn’t find the right formula as Ripon won the next three. Escalon fell 16-25, 15-25, 17-25 and lost the match by a 3-1 decision to the host Lady Indians.
“The scores do not show how well we played,” said head coach Teresa Williamson. “We made our fair share of mistakes but they were aggressive mistakes.”
Leaders were Murphy with seven kills, six aces and three blocks. Scott had nine kills, Bianchi added 17 digs and Tiana Lopez had 15 digs. Arauza notched 21 assists.
Getting two league games under their belts this week, the JV Lady Cougars were 25-12, 25-12 winners against Riverbank on Tuesday and then lost to Ripon on Thursday.
“We had exceptional serving and played together as a team,” coach Krystal Rodriguez said of defeating Riverbank. “We’re learning having good communication gives you good ball flow and wins you games.”
At Ripon, the JV girls lost 16-25, 21-25.
“Ripon was tougher and sometimes it’s harder to come out strong to a tough team when you have a slower start to your week,” Rodriguez noted. “We fought much harder in our second set. Ripon taught us we need to be smarter and finish the play. We also were reminded how important all nine players are in keeping the ball on our side.”
The girls will take part in the Stockton Classic Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Escalon’s youngest volleyball girls were at Tokay on Monday, Sept. 12 and won 25-23, 25-18. Head coach Morgan Jensen said Suzy Palmerin had three aces, Melanie Smith had three kills and Camryn Rodenburg had 12 digs.
Tuesday, they welcomed Waterford in, as Riverbank does not field a freshman team.
“We struggled to work as a team in the first game but played much better in the second game,” Jensen said of winning the match 2-0. “Melanie Smith led in kills with four and aces with four. Julia Castillas led in digs with five.”
The freshmen then traveled for their league opener and lost to Ripon in three games, though Jensen said the match was close.
“We made a lot of defensive errors but all in all they fought really hard,” the coach said.
Scores were 22-25, 25-23, 7-15. Natalie Cortes led in assists with nine, Smith had seven kills and four aces, Rodenburg had 10 digs.
At the Stockton Classic on Saturday, the frosh girls went 2-2, losing the first match to Lodi, winning against Oakdale in the consolation round and then defeating Edison before losing in the consolation championship to Lincoln.