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Volleyball Girls Take On Busy Week Of Preseason
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A hectic week of volleyball saw Escalon’s varsity squad nab a few wins, while the JV battled through a tough week and the freshman squad saw some victories.

Hosting Oakdale on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the varsity Lady Cougars won the match in four games. After fighting to a 26-24 win in the opener, they saw Oakdale battle back and take game two, 24-26. But a solid 25-12 victory in game three paved the way for a 25-20 win to seal the match in game four, taking a 3-1 victory.

“In games one and four, we had big leads that we let slip away,” explained coach Kayla Kootstra. “In game three we did a good job of closing out the game and playing consistently.”

Kylee Irwin-Paz had 16 kills on 28 attempts on the night and also had two blocks. Maddie Nicholas added 11 kills, Cydney Keener had 32 assists and Natalie Bianchi recorded 17 digs.

The team traveled to St. Mary’s on Thursday and lost 3-0, with scores of 25-19, 36-34, 25-20 going against them.

“That was our marathon match,” Kootstra said. “We actually played them really tough, they are young but have some solid players and this was some really good volleyball.”

Irwin-Paz and Nicholas had eight kills each; Taylor Laugero had 18 assists and 12 digs. Nicole Sarkozy added two aces and two blocks.

Then it was off to the Golden Valley Invitational for a two-day tournament on Friday and Saturday.

“We played three games on Friday at Pitman, then went to Merced on Saturday and had five matches there,” Kootstra explained.

The varsity girls ended up going 4-4 in their eight matches and took second in the Bronze division, 10th overall among 36 teams in the tournament.

“We beat Enochs, which was nice because we lost to them in the first game of the year,” Kootstra said of the most satisfying of the team’s four match wins in the tournament. “When you have lost to a team once already, it becomes more of a mental game and the girls did a good job of coming out strong and getting that one.”

The girls were scheduled to play at Ripon Christian on Tuesday and head to Gregori on Thursday.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Kootstra said of the week, noting that she should finally have a full, healthy roster with which to work.

“We’ve only had one game so far with all 12 players healthy,” she said.

At the lower levels, the JV girls took 3-0 losses to both Oakdale and St. Mary’s this week while the freshmen were 2-0 winners against Oakdale, 2-1 victors against St. Mary’s.