Escalon’s volleyball season came to an end one stop of where they wanted to be … as the varsity girls fell in the semifinals to top seeded Sonora on Nov. 18. Sonora went on to defeat Hilmar in the Section finals, taking the Sac-Joaquin Division IV crown.
For the Lady Cougars, it was a road trip to Sonora on Tuesday that saw them close out their campaign, losing by a 3-0 margin to the host Lady Wildcats. Scores were 25-17, 25-3, 25-21.
“We actually played pretty well to start,” coach Kayla Kootstra said of battling in the early going of the first game. “But then they went on a six or seven-point run that put it away.”
Players agreed that they gave away too many points in that run, said Kootstra, with the Lady Cougars not making Sonora work hard for them.
“We just felt we didn’t make them earn it in game one,” said Kootstra.
The goal was to come out tougher for the second game but that didn’t go according to plan either.
“In game two, nothing went right,” admitted Kootstra. “We couldn’t get a pass, and when we did get a pass, we couldn’t get a set.”
That game was over quickly, and the Lady Cougars were looking at a 2-0 deficit. They knew their best effort had to be given if they had any hope of getting back in the contest and they did battle until the end of game three, making Sonora earn that 25-21 win.
“They fought back, played hard in game three,” Kootstra said. “We just struggled to put any kind of run together.”
Krysten Rose and Kylee Irwin-Paz each have five kills, Taylor Laugero had four kills and 13 assists and Brooke Silva added 14 digs. Savannah Guerra stepped up into the libero position for game three and played well, recording eight digs and an ace.
“If you’re going to lose, I guess it is better to lose to the champions,” Kootstra said of knowing Sonora went on to claim the Section crown. “But it’s tough because you end your whole season on a loss.”
Escalon took second place in the Trans-Valley League to Hilmar, while the Lady Yellowjackets also ended their season on a loss to Sonora, falling 3-0 in the title game. For Kootstra, this first year as head coach was ultimately a satisfying one for her.
“The girls worked hard, they had to buy into me as the new coach and they did,” she said. “Now we have to take what we learned, focus on the good things we did, and there were a lot of them, and we return quite a few players.”
Escalon compiled an overall record of 26-10 this season under their new head coach and Kootstra said she was extremely pleased with the campaign and the effort her squad gave on the court.