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Marathon Win Over Ripon Highlights Varsity Volleyball Week
At the end of a five game, come-from-behind battle, Escalon emerged on top, 3-2 over Ripon in varsity volleyball action on Tuesday, Sept. 18. It was a battle of Trans-Valley League foes and Escalon head coach Teresa Williamson said neither team disappointed.

"It was phenomenal volleyball," she said. "Both teams had outstanding games."

Ripon put the first game away by a 21-25 score over Escalon and also took the second, though in a 24-26 battle. That put the Lady Cougars in an 0-2 hole but they rallied for three straight wins to take the match.

"We were down eight points in that second game and pushed them to 24-26, so we got the momentum on our side," said Williamson. "For game three, I didn't change anything, I kept my line up the same and we minimized our errors.

"The girls showed a lot of heart, a lot of character."

Escalon won the next three, 25-21, 28-26, 15-11.

"Ripon is a very good offensive team, Escalon is a very good defensive team," the coach said. "This was some of the best blocking my girls have ever done, they just really stepped it up."

Cassidy Caton had 25 kills and four aces on the night, with Nicole Bianchi and Taylor Laugero each notching 22 assists. Caton and Laugero recorded 26 digs apiece, with four blocks each from Krysten Rose, Samantha Shipley and Adalia Cajias.

"They all pulled together," Williamson said of the team, with every player, including those subbing in off the bench, contributing to the win.

Hosting Orestimba on Thursday, Sept. 20, it was a win in three, 25-11, 30-28, 25-20 for the Escalon girls.

"They started really slowly," Williamson said of Orestimba. "But they came on, we were able to hold them off."

Caton had 12 kills and five aces, Rose added eight kills, Bianchi 15 assists, with 13 digs from Hailey Bush and two blocks from Shipley.

Capping off a busy week, the girls played in the Oakdale Tournament on Saturday, finishing third behind Pitman and Enochs and going 7-3 over the course of the tournament.


It was a good week on the court for the JV girls and their new coach this year, Stephanie Williamson. They started it out with a win over Ripon and also upended Orestimba.

Hosting Ripon on Sept. 18, they fell behind and lost the first game 20-25 before taking the next two to win it in three, 2-1.

"They were playing really timid," said Williamson of the first game. "Ripon is our rival and the girls really wanted to play well against a good team but they came out timid."

That led to the loss and Williamson said she urged her team in between games to get tougher.

"I told them I wanted them to make more aggressive errors," she said of not coming in timid and afraid to play. "They just went out and started swinging away. We got an early lead (in game two) and that helped them play with more confidence."

Escalon won game two, 25-15, then won the third by a 15-11 final.

Williamson said the team was paced by Kylee Irwin-Paz.

"She was our stud, she led us in everything," Williamson said. "She had 14 digs, three blocks and five kills. She also had our most serves and had one service ace."

Back on the home court for Thursday's game against Orestimba, the Escalon JV won 25-8, 25-14.

"They went in with the mindset that Orestimba was good because we had heard they were a good team and they were expecting a much tougher match," said the coach.

But it was a match that saw the Escalon girls overwhelm their opponents.

"I have never seen my team play that well," Williamson said. "They were blocking balls, they didn't let any balls drop and it was all around a good team effort."


Their first league game went in the books as a loss, but Escalon's freshmen came back to win later in the week, splitting games with Ripon and Orestimba.

They lost to Ripon, 23-25, 20-25 on Tuesday.

"It was definitely close but you could tell we had an off day," said coach Krystal Rodriguez. "With us losing, though, we know what to work on."

Josie Redberg and Vanesa Kualapai got high marks for pushing points with their serving, while top defense came from Allison Rigg and Laura Brasil. Jenna Solari led the team in attacks and Sarah Leal came up with a solid block. Against Orestimba, the frosh girls won 25-11, 25-11.

"We stayed consistent, we played awesome defense and we missed only a handful of serves," explained Rodriguez. "There's a big difference in an off day and an on day for us. A lot of it comes down to communication skills (on the court) and that takes time."

Redberg again was stellar for the squad.

"She rocked out with her setting, she had eight assists," said Rodriguez.

Brasil and Rigg were key from the service line and Leal was again strong at the middle blocker position.

"She has a lot of potential, definitely one to watch," said Rodriguez.

The volleyball squads host Hilmar in a league match on Thursday, Sept. 27.