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Lady Cougars Christen Renovated Gym With Victories
Volleyball Wrap
JV player Sage Davis bumps the ball during a home game earlier this month. Wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the volleyball girls were also able to play their last couple of league games during October in the newly remodeled main gym, rather than the old gym they were using here. Marg Jackson/The Times

Escalon’s varsity volleyball girls made the most of an exciting week, opening up play in the newly renovated main gym on the Escalon High campus with a victory on Tuesday night. They continued the strong play on the road Thursday, winning that match as well to get a pair of Trans-Valley League victories this week.

“We started the week off with Modesto Christian and opening of the newly remodeled gym. It was a great night and the girls came ready to play,” said head coach Teresa Williamson.

Scores showed visiting MC manage a couple more points in each contest but Escalon stayed solidly in control, winning 25-5, 25-7, 25-13.

“Meadow Naraghi had five aces, Hannah Murphy had 11 kills,” said Williamson. “Peyton Arnold and Kaitlyn Herrera had two blocks each; Brielle Arauza 22 assists; and Tiana Lopez 19 digs.”

It was a solid team effort all the way around and was one of three Lady Cougar team victories on the night to break in the remodeled gym in winning fashion, as the JV and freshman squads were winners on Tuesday as well.

On Thursday, the girls were at Hughson and though they lost the opener, 13-22, they regrouped and battled the host Lady Huskies to win it 3-1, following up the loss with scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 27-25.

“We started off slow in game one and eventually started to pick up the momentum at the end of it,” Williamson explained. “It was an uphill battle from both teams there on out. We controlled the ball with some great passing and it made Brielle’s job of setting easy. Brie moved the ball around very well. They definitely kept me on my toes but they played out of their minds.”

Tess Cosby came away from the match with four aces while Murphy had 10 kills and four blocks. Arnold, Herrera and Leila Phillips added three blocks each. On the night, Arauza collected 32 assists and Lopez recorded 27 digs.

The varsity squad was scheduled to close out the regular season with a home finale, hosting Hilmar for Senior Night on Tuesday, Oct. 24 after The Times went to press.



Escalon’s JV girls took down visiting Modesto Christian, 25-13, 25-15 on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

“The opening night for the new gym was a great experience and I’m glad I was able to share it with some very important people,” said head coach Krystal Rodriguez. “Thank you to all who helped make the upgrade possible, we’re very proud and honored to be able to be a part of something so special to the community.”

Koren Rodriguez had 14 attempted serves with eight aces in the 2-0 win. Katie Karp had eight attempts with two aces.

“The girls have been very excited to play their first game on their new home court and not only did it show in our game that night but it also showed in their practices beforehand,” Rodriguez said.

The coach noted that the girls have been growing with the program throughout the season.

“It’s nice to see them feel more and more comfortable with the game,” said Rodriguez. “Natalie Cortes played awesome receive defense and held top digs with 11. Sage Davis had eight attempts at the net with six kills. Wailea Espino had two solo blocks.”

As satisfying as the Tuesday night win was, the Thursday road game at Hughson was disappointing, as the girls fell in a contest that they felt was winnable. They fell in straight sets, 11-25, 20-25.

“We had 39 errors when we usually average only 15,” Rodriguez pointed out of the team’s troubles on the night. “We were physically prepared, we worked on defense and offense all week and had such a great night on Tuesday; we really believed we were ready.”

The mental toughness it takes to win, though, is something the team is still working on.

“That’s going to come with experience and individual discipline and that’s what we’ve been going over all season,” said the coach. “This is when, as a coach, you pray that they’re taking it in for their first season on varsity next year. I have high hopes for each one of these girls and know exactly how much potential they have.”

With 20 uncharacteristic attack errors by Escalon in the road game, the coach said Hughson was able to take advantage and get the win.

Julia Casillas had 13 attempts at the net with two kills and one solo block.

“They kept feeding the ball to our setter Hannah Boyd so she couldn’t set our hitters,” Rodriguez said of Hughson’s strategy.

Nevertheless, Boyd had 15 digs with only one error. On seven serve attempts, she notched three aces.

Final game of the season for the JV girls was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24 hosting Hilmar, after The Times went to press.

“Win or lose they need to walk out of the gym proud of what they put out there on the court. With heart and hustle, talk and trust, anything is possible on the court,” explained Rodriguez. “They need to continue to believe in themselves and one another to keep the love of the game strong within them. They tend to forget about the little girl who fell in love with the game and to play for her.”



The youngest Lady Cougars put two wins on the books this week, taking a scrimmage against Waterford on Tuesday, a TVL match with Hughson on Thursday.

Hosting Waterford on Oct. 17, the girls were 25-16, 25-10 winners in the non-league scrimmage with Waterford.

Cesi Rodriguez had five kills, Madi Faria had five assists. Madelyn Page paced the team in aces with four, Kailey Costa had 11 digs and Kalynn Cavanaugh added a block.

Thursday, the freshmen took on Hughson on the road, winning the opener 25-12, falling in a 23-25 middle frame and then taking down the host Lady Huskies in a 15-6 game three.

“Game one they played great and were communicating very well, but game two came around and we just rolled over,” said coach Morgan Jensen. “Their ability to not stay down for too long helped them win game three. This is what a real team is; it’s very impressive watching them pick each other up and not only play for themselves but play for each other and stay positive.”

Rodriguez again led the team in kills with six, Page had 10 assists. Faria notched five aces, Costa had 18 digs and Cavanaugh and Mya Scott had one block each.

The freshmen were slated to kick off the final night of the league season with a 4:30 p.m. contest on Tuesday, Oct. 24, hosting Hilmar. The game was scheduled after presstime for The Times.