Two final preseason matches, two different outcomes.
Escalon’s varsity volleyball girls earned a win against Ripon Christian but lost to Gregori, as they had their final tune-ups heading into the start of Trans-Valley League play.
The squad traveled to Ripon to take on RC on Tuesday night, said coach Kayla Kootstra, and came away with a 3-0 win.
Scores were 25-14, 25-9 and 25-20.
“We went in with a little more confidence, said Kootstra. “We have played a lot of Division I programs in preseason and that has helped, plus Ripon Christian is a young team.”
Leading the way was Nicole Sarkozy, who had five aces and served a total of 15 points for her team during the three-game sweep.
“We just had all around consistent play,” the coach added. “Having a game where we could come in and take care of business is good for us.”
Also contributing in the win were Kylee Irwin-Paz with 10 kills and two blocks; Reily Rocha with eight kills, Taylor Laugero with 28 assists. Sarkozy added 18 digs and Natalie Bianchi had 14 digs.
“Thursday, we were at Gregori and we started out a little shaky in the first game,” Kootstra said. “But we came back to win, 25-22. Unfortunately, we lost in four.”
The next three games all went Gregori’s way, Escalon falling by scores of 19-25, 14-25, 15-25.
They were a Division I opponent and, as Kootstra said, scheduling a tough preseason may not have resulted in a ton of wins but it did bring plenty of game situation experience and gave the varsity squad some top quality opponents to battle.
“Gregori is a good team and we just made too many mistakes in games three and four,” noted Kootstra. “One of the things we need to learn is when to be aggressive, when to take the risks, and when we need to get the ball and keep it in play.”
Irwin-Paz had a solid game against Gregori with 12 kills, three blocks and 11 digs.
Kootstra said while dropping preseason games can be frustrating, they can be a good learning experience.
“We can use them to our advantage,” she said of the contests.
Monday, they were scheduled to kick off the Trans-Valley League season at Riverbank and will be home tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 23 to take on Ripon.
“Ripon always seems to be a tough team for us,” the coach noted.
But the varsity squad will be ready, aiming for a win against the Lady Indians.
At the lower levels this week, both the JV and freshman teams picked up a pair of wins.
The JV girls beat both Ripon Christian and Gregori in three, the freshmen were victorious over both opponents in two.
Modesto Christian and Riverbank don’t have freshman teams, but Escalon will substitute matches with Ripon Christian and Waterford when those games are on the JV and varsity schedule, getting the chance to play a full season.