Two games on the road, at Ripon on Monday night and at Mountain House on Wednesday, had two different outcomes for the Lady Cougars varsity volleyball team.
They took a 3-1 loss at Ripon on Oct. 19, even though they got started strong with a 25-21 win in game one.
“Then we lost the next three,” explained head coach Kayla Kootstra.
Scores were close in each, the varsity volleyball girls falling 21-25, 23-25 and 22-25 to the host Lady Indians, never quite able to get back into the win column.
“I don’t know if I can say it was just one thing,” Kootstra said of what contributed to the league loss. “Our passing kind of struggled but it struggled all night, even in the first game when we won, we weren’t having a good passing night.
“I think it came down to little things, we made some errors in situations where we couldn’t afford errors and they (Ripon) did a good job of executing when they needed to.”
Kylie Irwin-Paz had a dozen kills on the night, Nicole Sarkozy recorded nine kills on 11 attempts. Taylor Laugero had 39 assists, 14 digs and six aces. Sarkozy and Reily Rocha each had two blocks.
Despite strong play from several areas of the floor, Kootstra said it was a tough loss to take.
“It wasn’t the outcome we were exactly hoping for,” she admitted, noting that it was just the second league loss for the varsity girls this season.
They had to put it behind them, she said, and focus on Mountain House for another road game on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Part of that preparation came during Tuesday’s practice.
“I came out and told the girls, I was disappointed, they were disappointed, but we can’t change the outcome, all we could do was move forward, fix the mistakes and hope we are a stronger team,” Kootstra said.
Getting ready not only for the Mountain House game but looking beyond that to the playoffs, Kootstra said she urged the girls to focus more on what they were doing on their side of the net.
“There are key players on the other side we might key in on,” she said, “but we need to make sure we are doing the right things.”
In the Wednesday game, Escalon did plenty of things right, sweeping to a 3-0 win with scores of 25-12, 25-6, 25-10.
“They bounced back and did a fairly good job of taking care of things against Mountain House,” explained Kootstra. “It wasn’t our best volleyball but we were able to take care of business, everybody got significant playing time, it was a good follow up game for us, a way to gain some confidence.”
Kootstra also did some tinkering with the line-up, moving Laugero to libero and putting Cydney Keener in to set for the team.
“We did struggle a little defensively against Ripon,” Kootstra noted, adding that the changes against Mountain House seemed to help settle the team down a bit.
Keener had 30 assists from the setter position, Laugero had five aces and nine digs at libero. Sarkozy had three blocks and 12 kills.
This week, the girls were scheduled to play at home on Monday, Oct. 26 against Modesto Christian, after The Times went to press. Ripon Christian was bringing its freshman team to play Escalon, while there was no JV game scheduled on Monday.
Tonight, Wednesday, the teams travel to Hughson and then will be back on the home court for the regular season finale on Monday, Nov. 3 against Hilmar. That will also be Senior Night.
“I think we need to play well Monday against Modesto Christian to lead us into our Hughson game,” Kootstra said. “It would be a step in the right direction to get a pretty decisive win against MC and then have a good practice on Tuesday; the girls have been working to push themselves in practice.”
A couple of strong nights on the court are needed before the trip to face the Lady Huskies, the coach said.
“Hughson is a good team, with good players,” she noted.
Escalon’s JV team lost Monday to Ripon in three games, then bounced back with a two-game sweep of Mountain House.
“It was a game we really wanted to win but just couldn’t finish,” JV head coach Krystal Rodriguez said of falling to the Indians. “Ripon (score) was 25-16, 16-25 and 11-15.”
The squad did bounce back for a win at Mountain House on Wednesday, taking down the host Mustangs in two, 25-14 and 25-15.
The freshmen got two wins for the week, beating both opponents on the road.