Senior Night saw several Lady Cougar players recognized for their contributions to the program over the years. It did not, however, end with an Escalon win, as they hosted a tough and talented Hilmar squad in the regular season finale.
Falling to the Lady Yellowjackets 3-0, scores were 21-25, 21-25, 10-25.
“I know the scores of game three don’t show it but these girls played out of their minds. I was so very proud of them,” said head coach Teresa Williamson. “Hilmar is a great team and my girls fought hard.”
Senior players for Escalon include Tiana Lopez, Kaitlyn Herrera, Brielle Arauza, Peyton Arnold and Hannah Murphy.
Leading the way on the night was Brielle Arauza with 28 assists, Kaitlyn Herrera and Hannah Murphy had nine kills each.
Arauza, Peyton Arnold and Leila Phillips had one block each; Arauza had 13 digs, Tiana Lopez had 16 digs and Meadow Naraghi added four aces.
“That loss is behind us and we are ready for playoffs,” said Williamson.
Escalon completed the TVL season with an 8-4 mark and they went 15-10 overall.
The Lady Cougars headed into the second season, the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, as the number 11 seed in Division IV.
They were scheduled to travel to Grass Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 31 for first round action, heading to number 6 Bear River. The game was played after The Times went to press.
“We lost to them in five last year during round two,” Williamson added of the familiar foe.
Other Tuesday night first round match ups in D-IV featuring Trans-Valley League teams included top seed Hilmar hosting number 16 seed Encina, number 10 Ripon at number 7 Vacaville Christian and number 12 Hughson at number 5 Linden. Hilmar is the only TVL team to host a first round playoff game.
For teams that win first round contests, second round action is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2 at the home of the higher seed.
Falling by a 2-0 final to Hilmar on Oct. 24, the Escalon JV Lady Cougars lost 6-25, 16-25.
“Our last game of the season and even though we carried the loss, the scores didn’t reflect how hard my girls played against Hilmar,” said coach Krystal Rodriguez. “They fought and rallied most points and I’m very proud of how they ended, especially compared to our previous matches.”
The JV girls took third place in the Trans-Valley League and compiled a 10-7 overall record.
The coach pointed to their “heart and hustle” on the court along with their communication and trust as being all she could have asked for.
“I’d like to thank my captains Sage Davis, Hannah Boyd and Andrea Martinez for carrying the team in good times and bad and being my right hands,” added Rodriguez.
In the Tuesday night finale, Natalie Cortes stepped up and played libero for the JV squad.
“She had two aces, 12 digs and great serve receive,” said Rodriguez. “A big thanks to her for stepping up and leading the girls when they needed.”
Koren Rodriguez had 13 swings with one kill and also was solid in serve receive, while Sage Davis had 10 swings with two kills.
“She rocked her defense as always,” Rodriguez noted of Davis. “Hannah Boyd did a great job as setter all night, having six assists and hustling play after play.”
The loss in the finale couldn’t put a damper on what was a successful season, one in which players grew into their skills.
“I believe every girl on the team has done a great job in working hard and improved in some way whether it be in skills or sportsmanship and I’m proud of every single one of them,” Rodriguez said.
The youngest Lady Cougars closed out their season with a win. They took down visiting Hilmar in two, winning 25-16, 26-24, in the Oct. 24 contest. That left them with a 4-2 record in league play for the season.
“Madi Faria led us in aces with 12, Liz Cortes led in kills with three,” coach Morgan Jensen said. “Madelyn Page had five assists and Kailey Costa had 20 digs.”
The win was definitely a satisfying way to end the campaign, the coach added.
“This season was full of quick wit, lots of laughs, and even more food,” Jensen said of enjoying the chance to share the season with her players. “It has been great coaching these girls and showing them how to perfect their game and I hope they take everything that they have learned this year to better themselves and continue to grow their love for the game.”