Trans-Valley League action saw Escalon’s varsity volleyball girls get back in the win column this week.
Two games, two victories came for the Lady Cougars, one in non-league play against Ripon Christian on Tuesday and then against Riverbank on the home court Thursday.
Against Ripon Christian, the match went the full five games, Escalon prevailing with a 3-2 decision, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19, 18-25 and 15-7.
Tiana Lopez paced the effort with 29 digs and Tess Cosby added 26. Brielle Arauza once again was the leader in assists, with 25 for the marathon match. Kaitlyn Herrera and Hannah Murphy each had 13 kills and Peyton Arnold had three blocks. Leading the team in aces was Madisyn Widmer with three.
Escalon started second round play in the Trans-Valley League with a home match against Riverbank on Oct. 5 and never let the visitors get into much of a rhythm, taking the Lady Bruins down in three, 25-7, 25-6, 25-14.
“After losing to Hughson and Hilmar, they have bounced back and started round two with a win,” said head coach Teresa Williamson. “They are focused and determined to step it up. I have all the confidence in these girls.”
Lopez had 15 digs against Riverbank, Murphy had another busy night with 11 kills. Arauza had an all-around standout game with 23 assists and 11 aces.
After taking a non-league loss to Ripon Christian, 11-25 and 16-25, the JV Lady Cougars did get a Trans-Valley League win on Thursday, hosting Riverbank to start the second round of league action. They battled it out with the visiting Lady Bruins and finally took a 25-23, 26-24 win. Riverbank had the lead in game two but couldn’t close it out to force the tiebreaker.
“We had 24 errors,” coach Krystal Rodriguez said of the rocky outing against Riverbank. “I told them less errors on our side and the scores would have been way different.”
But the win goes on the books and Escalon did it without a couple of players.
“I was missing my setter Hannah Boyd on Thursday and we also lost our libero three points into the first set against Riverbank,” Rodriguez noted. “I’m very proud of Andrea Martinez and Sage Davis for their defense and also Natalie Cortes for picking up the setting when her teammate was down. She has done very well.”
There was no TVL play for the youngest Lady Cougars this week, as Riverbank does not field a freshman squad. The girls, however, did travel to the Oakdale Tournament on Saturday and battled through a long but ultimately satisfying day on the courts.
“We started off great, winning our pool,” explained coach Morgan Jensen. “Played Hilmar first and won 25-18, 26-24.”
The freshmen then faced off with Merced and beat them 25-11, 25-19. Against Lincoln, they were 25-16, 26-24 winners.
“We went into the championship bracket, losing to Ripon in three games,” Jensen said.
They then lost to Tracy, giving them fourth place overall in the tournament.
“We played great against Ripon, but when it came to Tracy, we just fell flat,” admitted the coach. “It was a 10-hour day of volleyball so I’m sure you can imagine how tired these girls were after playing so tough all day long.”
Tournament leaders for Escalon were Madi Faria with 18 kills and Liz Cortes with 16. Madelyn Page had 21 assists, Faria added 19. Faria also led the way in aces with 20 and Kailey Costa had 16.
For the tournament, Costa racked up 91 digs, Gena Goodman had 41.
“We had a great tournament; these numbers don’t do these girls justice, they played great and improve so much every day,” Jensen said. “They push each other to be better and to make smart decisions about their game play, which is amazing to watch as a coach because the kind of heart that these girls have is something no one can train.”
The teams were scheduled to be on the road this week; playing at Ripon on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and then at Mountain House on Thursday, Oct. 12. The varsity girls will head to the Stockton Classic for tournament play on Saturday, Oct. 14. The JV and varsity will host Modesto Christian in Escalon on Tuesday, Oct. 17 while the freshmen play host to Waterford that day to start the matches, taking the court at 4:30 p.m.