Splitting their TVL matches for the week, the Escalon varsity volleyball girls then went on to win the Stockton Classic Tournament.
They fell first to Ripon, 11-25, 21-25, 16-25.
Jaden Scott had five kills and Jordin Jensen added four, with Jensen also getting an ace. Brielle Arauza had 14 assists on the night, digs leaders were Natalie Bianchi with eight and Meadow Naraghi with seven while Hannah Murphy had three blocks.
Taking on Ripon is always a tough assignment, said head coach Teresa Williamson, noting that the team bounced back well to celebrate Senior Night on Thursday with a win over Mountain House.
Not quite able to finish the visitors off in three, Escalon did prevail in a 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-15 decision.
Two players were in double digits with kills, Scott with 11 and Jensen with 10. Scott had seven aces and Arauza had a busy night with 30 assists. Bianchi had 21 digs and Murphy came up big with three blocks.
Seniors Jaden Scott, Jordin Jensen, Lexington Wheeler and Natalie Bianchi were all recognized prior to the contest and then led the entire team in singing the National Anthem.
Continuing with a busy week, the girls went to the Stockton Classic Tournament on Saturday, playing their games at Weston Ranch and coming away with the first place plaque.
They took down Stagg 25-9, 25-9; Skyline 25-8, 25-17; Modesto High 22-25, 26-24, 15-13; and finally Yerba Buena, 25-22, 25-17.
“Jaden Scott was voted MVP of the tournament,” Williamson said.
Scott totaled 31 kills for the tournament along with 11 aces, strong on both offense and defense for her team.
Arauza had 76 assists during the games and several other players also had top efforts, helping the girls bring home the hardware.
“We are away on Tuesday against Modesto Christian and home on Thursday against Hughson,” said Williamson. “Thursday is Dig Pink Night.”
Starting the week against Ripon, it was a 19-25, 21-25 setback for Escalon.
“We had a great practice the day before this game and we were physically ready for this day, but our mental blocks and errors consumed us,” said coach Krystal Rodriguez. “I feel that the girls cared so much about this game that that was what got in our way. They worried too much about the play they just had rather than the next play.”
And although it was a loss, Rodriguez said she felt the team did better against Ripon this game than the first time they played them.
Alexia Johnson led in hits having 11 attempts and one kill with Hunter Wheeler having eight attempts and two kills. Madisyn Widmer had 10 serves and Leila Phillips had nine serves and one ace.
“Everyone fought hard on defense and dug balls, however our errors exceeded our earned points,” said Rodriguez. “Madisyn had less errors on defense and it showed with seven digs and two errors. Leila had one solo block.”
Back on the home court Thursday to host Mountain House, it was a 25-11, 25-7 win for the JV team.
“We set goals each game and this one was that we weren’t going to stop, we were to keep going, keep fighting each play to better the ball and finish it,” Rodriguez said of the mindset hosting the Mustangs.
Phillips had two kills, Widmer added one kill.
“Alexia served great and had 13 serves with six aces. Mya Beary also had good serving with nine serves and four aces,” said Rodriguez. “The girls decided they were a blocking team that night and had six blocks as a team. Alexia and Leila both had two each and Alisa Herrera and Mya both had one each.”
Tess Cosby played solid defense, having 10 digs with only one error, and had an even better serve receive game.
“Out of the eight perfect serve receive passes, six of them were hers,” Rodriguez noted. “I’m very proud of this group of girls for how far they’ve come. They were asked to come together as a team, and they’re doing it. They all are doing such a great job figuring out what works best for us. They’re becoming very smart about the flow of the game and learning how to place balls, finishing plays better.”
Battling in a touch match, the youngest Lady Cougars came up just a few points short against Ripon in Oct. 11 action, 25-27, 24-26.
“As you can see by the score, it was a close game,” said freshman head coach Morgan Jensen. “We played extremely well and didn’t let up. We just played too conservative. We kept the ball in play but there were quite a few times where we should have done something more aggressive offensively with the ball but instead gave Ripon something easy to run their offense off of and that’s what determined the game.”
Julia Castillas paced the team with four kills, Natalie Cortes had five assists and Camryn Rodenburg had 13 digs.
Escalon rebounded at home to beat Mountain House in two on Thursday, 25-14, 29-27.
Castillas and Melanie Smith tied in kills with five each, Cortes notched 10 assists.
“Natalie led in aces with six and Melanie led in digs with seven,” said Jensen. “Julia also had an amazing block.”