Winning on the home court against Hughson, the varsity Lady Cougars volleyball team showed a bit of a split personality in losing on the road at Hilmar.
It was a 1-1 week, but head coach Kayla Kootstra said there was an opportunity missed against the Yellowjackets, and she is eager to see them later this season on the Escalon court.
First, hosting Hughson on Monday, it was a sweep for the varsity girls, winning 25-14, 25-17, 25-17 in the Oct. 5 contest.
“I was never worried,” Kootstra said of the game. “I felt like we had control the entire time. They are a decent team but I felt we played well.”
Kylee Irwin-Paz had 15 kills in the match.
“That was on 20 attempts, without any errors,” noted Kootstra of the strong effort by the senior.
Also hitting well was Jaden Scott, notching seven kills on 12 attempts herself.
Taylor Laugero added 29 assists and five aces, Natalie Bianchi had nine digs.
It was a game that saw Escalon do all the things they needed to do to win, said Kootstra, and she was happy to put it in that column.
Wednesday at Hilmar, Escalon fell in a 3-1 decision to the host Lady Yellowjackets.
Going down 25-14 and 25-13 in the first two games, the varsity girls turned that around and handed Hilmar a 25-12 defeat in game three to pull within 2-1.
“It was a very bizarre match,” admitted Kootstra. “Our passing the first game was the worst by far all season. We were down 6-0, came back and made it 6-6, then they took off on a run.”
Hoping to shake things up a bit, Kootstra said she changed the line-up for game two, moving Taylor Laugero to libero and bringing Cydney Keener in to do the setting.
“That didn’t work, we still didn’t have a good rhythm,” said the coach.
Game three saw more tinkering, this time putting Maddie Nicholas in at libero, and getting some solid serving from Jaden Scott, which helped them get the win.
“Jaden had seven aces on the night,” said Kootstra. “In that game, we pushed a lot of points, we controlled that match.”
Trying to seize the momentum, the Lady Cougars just couldn’t sustain the game three drive, and fell in game four 25-16 to lose by the 3-1 margin.
“I’m not sure what happened in game four,” admitted Kootstra. “We had an off night and against a team like Hilmar, you can’t have that.
“On the plus side, we showed what we’re capable of when we do play well. We just have to learn from it and move on, and we get another shot at them. We need to take care of business between now and then.”
Scott and Reily Rocha each had two blocks on the night as well. Bianchi had six digs, Laugero had five digs and 21 assists.
Taking down Hughson in two games, the JV Lady Cougars then fell in three to Hilmar, splitting their contests for the week.
Against Hughson the Escalon girls were winners, 25-13, 25-10.
“The team played a very good game all around,” said coach Krystal Rodriguez. “We hustled and stayed focused. They’re understanding how to control the ball, compose themselves and communicate with each other better.”
Leaders in the game included Hannah Murphy with two aces and four kills, Peyton Arnold five kills, Brielle Arauza eight assists, Victoria Warsing six digs, Kaitlyn and Dalsin with one block each
“Consistent serving out of both Hannah and Amanda Salvador. Terrific plays and hustle as always out of setter Brielle Arauza,” Rodriguez added of the effort.
At Hilmar, it was a 2-1 loss for Escalon with scores of 13-25, 25-18, 3-15.
“We weren’t as prepared as we should have been. Hilmar just wanted the win and fought harder than us,” admitted Rodriguez.
Top stat holders were Hannah Murphy with three aces, Peyton Arnold four kills and one block, Brielle Arauza eight assists and Tiana Lopez six digs.
Freshmen won both matches, topping Hughson and Hilmar, then played in the all-day Oakdale Invitational on Saturday.
A light week for the girls this week has Riverbank coming in for JV and varsity action on Wednesday, Oct. 14 while Ripon Christian will come in to be the opponent for the freshmen.