Preseason was rough for the Escalon JV volleyball girls.
That, according to new JV head coach Krystal Rodriguez, who moved up from the freshman level to coach the JV girls this season.
“We battled ourselves most of the time and learned it’s important to play as a team and not an individual and how much the game is very mental, never shutting off your brain,” Rodriguez said. “We got a little better with each opponent, never actually being able to finish until our Ripon Christian and Gregori wins. I believe that was our turning point.”
The girls compiled a mark of 2-5 in the preseason but this week put a pair of TVL victories on the books.
They traveled to Riverbank for a game on Monday, Sept. 21 and won by scores of 25-3 and 25-14.
“We got a little too comfortable the second match but pulled through. Top servers were Hannah Murphy in the first match with 15 points, Peyton Arnold with seven points and Brielle Arauza with six points, four of which were aces.”
Wednesday, Sept. 23 was a home match against an always tough Ripon team.
“Playing Ripon was amazing and exhilarating. It was the icing on the cake and a win the girls really needed to boost up their morale,” said Rodriguez. “We took the win in three, 23-25, 25-17, 15-9.”
It was a well-rounded attack from Escalon that made the difference.
“Brielle Arauza (head captain) notched eight assists and always has consistent serving,” Rodriguez added. “Hannah Murphy led with seven kills and had great serve receive. Great digging from Brianna Martins, and Amanda Salvador and Kaitlyn Herreira had three aces each.”
Getting on the winning track to start the league season was very satisfying, said Rodriguez, both for herself as coach and the players.
“I’m very fortunate to have coached the same group of girls last season so I knew what I wanted us to work on this year,” she pointed out of moving up with last year’s freshman squad. “The girls are growing as athletes and learning as a team that we need everyone on the court, and the bench, to always stay positive and be a part of the game. I’m looking forward to a successful season, learning how to overcome and better our weaknesses.”