Following a four-game winning streak to start off the Trans-Valley League season, the Escalon varsity volleyball girls fell in two contents this week.
They closed out the first half of league action with a 4-2 mark.
The girls battled before ultimately falling to Hughson, 3-2, and then couldn’t get much going against Hilmar, falling 3-0.
“We had a very tough week,” admitted head coach Teresa Williamson. “The girls played hard, just made too many errors to pull out the wins.”
At home against Hughson on Tuesday, Sept. 25, Escalon opened up with a 25-19 win and then fell 20-25, 21-25 before rallying for a 25-15 win to even the match at 2-2. They lost in the fifth and final game, 8-15, with Hughson walking off the winner.
Brielle Arauza had 29 assists on the night, while Kaitlyn Herrera notched a dozen kills. Hannah Murphy, Peyton Arnold and Melanie Smith had two blocks each. Tiana Lopez had 23 digs and Tess Cosby had 11 aces.
The girls headed out on the road to Hilmar on Thursday and the host Yellowjackets took them down in three, 13-25, 15-25, 14-25.
There were some decent numbers for the Lady Cougars but they didn’t translate into a win against Hilmar. Arauza had 17 assists, Herrera and Murphy had seven kills and one block apiece. Lopez added 18 digs.
“We will keep working hard and focus on our weaknesses,” added Williamson. “I’m very proud of these girls. They have a lot of heart and will push each other to get better. They are not okay with our outcome for the first round and are committed to work hard to better our game.”
The varsity will host Riverbank in a 6:30 p.m. contest Thursday, Oct. 5 and then travel to Ripon for Tuesday, Oct. 10 contest.
On the home court Tuesday against Hughson, the JV girls won in two, 25-16, 25-20.
“Sage Davis played great serve receive defense, Koren Rodriguez had 13 digs, Julia Casillas eight kills, Hannah Boyd six assists and Katie Karp had two aces,” explained coach Krystal Rodriguez. “We have amazing defense and when we can figure out how to finish the ball better, our game will level up.”
At Hilmar on Thursday, the long bus ride to take on the Yellowjackets in their tough home gym proved to be too much of a task for the JV squad.
“That was a hard one; the bus ride was a long and rough one … they beat us in two,” Rodriguez said. “We know what we need to work on so we will be better prepared when they visit us at home.”
Andrea Martinez got high marks for her efforts on the court against Hilmar.
“She is coming along and improving so much on her defense,” Rodriguez noted. “She came out our best passer in serve receive.”
Karp had 10 digs and one block, while Casillas had five kills and one block. Boyd added five assists, Natalie Cortes had three assists and Davis notched two aces.
“The whole team has improved a lot and I’m very proud of the team they’re becoming,” said Rodriguez. “They’re growing with one another and finding their flow.”
At the Stockton tournament on Saturday, the JV girls got in some solid work. They defeated West Campus and Yerba Buena in their opening two games.
“We missed our setter this weekend but it didn’t stop the girls; we played amazing volleyball our first two games,” Rodriguez noted. “It was awesome to see them play so well.”
By the afternoon, the competition got a little harder.
“Manteca beat us in three and took the spot in the championship we were fighting for,” said the coach, adding that they still had a good match with Manteca.
“We then played Hughson in the final game and they ended up taking the win in three,” Rodriguez said. “We took fourth out of a 16-team bracket in a 60-team tournament.”
League action for the JV girls this week includes a home match Thursday against Riverbank at 5:30 p.m.; and a road game at Ripon on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m.
Escalon’s freshmen were 25-18, 25-23 winners in their home match against Hughson, taking the contest in a tough battle.
“We had really great plays and were keeping the ball going, but we gave a lot of points away due to our own errors, which is something we are really working on for these remaining weeks,” said coach Morgan Jensen.
Liz Cortez and Cesi Rodriguez tied for the lead in kills with three each on the night. Madi Faria led in assists with four, Gabi Martinez and Faria each had three aces. Kailey Costa notched 13 digs and Gena Goodman had 12. Cortez and Mya Scott each had a block.
On the road Thursday, the freshman girls worked hard to pull out a win, 26-24, 25-23.
“We came out with an exciting win,” Jensen said.
Scott had the lead in kills in this game, notching four, while Faria added four assists. Madelyn Page and Faria each had three aces and Gena Goodman had 16 digs. Kalynn Cavanaugh had a solo block.
“Both teams fought really hard,” Jensen said. “I was pulling my hair out the entire time … we missed quite a few serves in key parts of the game that were hard to come back from, but somehow we always seem to pull ourselves out of it.”
The young squad has shown some maturity in that regard, said the coach, which has helped them pull out the close contests.
“These girls just never hang their heads over their mistakes,” she said. “They make that one mistake and come back fighting a little tougher every time. They don’t give up on plays or give up on each other. Every mistake we make is aggressive and done with so much effort, it’s impossible to be mad at them while coaching.”
Jensen said they discuss the errors as a team, talk it out, laugh it off and try to come back stronger and smarter on the next play.
“They’ve really come a long way; all of us coaches are very proud of them,” said Jensen.
The freshmen are scheduled to play Saturday, Oct. 7 in the Oakdale Tournament and travel to Ripon on Tuesday, Oct. 10 for a 4:30 p.m. league contest.