Closing out the regular season with a pair of wins, the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars clawed their way past Livingston in volleyball action on Oct. 21, then defeated Hughson on Oct. 23.
“It was a battle on Senior Night. The girls were filled with emotions,” said head coach Teresa Williamson of taking a 3-2 win against the visiting Lady Wolves. “We played a little tight at the beginning and then got into our groove and finished the match strong.”
Scores were 25-20; 23-25; 22-25; 25-18; 15-8, with the host team having to fight back to win the final two matches to earn the league victory.
“The seniors have a big role on this team and they each bring their own strength to our team,” Williamson said. “They are a blessing to coach!”
Seniors recognized prior to the match were Mya Beary, Hannah Boyd, Natalie Cortes, Tess Cosby, Sage Davis, Katie Karp and Melanie Smith.
Hannah Boyd had 49 assists and 12 digs, Tess Cosby had 21 digs and Koren Rodriguez added 14. Mandy Murphy logged 21 kills, one block, 10 digs and two aces. Emily Vickers had 15 kills, two aces and 15 digs; Melanie Smith added 10 kills, six digs and two blocks.
Against Hughson, it was a 3-0 win, the Lady Cougars sweeping to the win in 25-12, 25-19, 25-22 fashion.
Boyd had another strong night with 25 assists, eight digs and two aces; Cosby had 15 digs to go along with five aces and five assists. Also, Murphy notched two aces, 13 kills and eight digs; Smith had seven kills, with Vickers contributing 10 kills and three digs.
The varsity girls went 9-3 in Trans-Valley League play.
The final week of the season saw Escalon’s JV girls split their matches.
“Going into the week we anticipated a fun yet challenging week. With Senior Night on Monday and then Hughson on Wednesday, we knew we still had work to do and needed to focus. They continued to practice and work as hard as they could mentally and physically,” said coach Krystal Rodriguez.
Hosting Livingston on Oct. 21 saw the Escalon girls take the win, 25-15, 25-17. Grace Ferreira had five kills while Haylee Barajas notched nine assists on the night. Marissa Silva added two blocks, Valeria Gonzalez had three aces.
“Matty Bollen played a solid serve receive defense and Sabrina Villa had nine digs,” Rodriguez said. “We got consistent serving from Madison Hagglund and Grace Ferreira.”
In the Wednesday finale, the JV Lady Cougars took a hard fought loss, 24-26, 23-25.
“One of the closest games they’ve played and could have been anyone’s win. I was very proud of the way they played and composed themselves,” added Rodriguez.
Bollen had a 13 dig night while Barajas had 10 assists. Ashley Espino played a consistent game in the front row, while Ferreira and Gonzalez each had two kills. Silva and Barajas had two aces apiece.
For the JV girls, it was a 7-5 mark in league play this season, and they went 12-6 overall.
“This group of athletes are hard-working girls who all wanted the same thing. To win. They worked hard for each game and came together in critical times. Proud coach would be an understatement,” Rodriguez summarized. “My most fond memory is when we took the win in Hilmar. The joy and happiness they all felt was electric and I’m honored to have coached them.”
A 25-13, 25-11 win went on the books for the youngest Lady Cougars against Livingston on Oct. 21.
“Faye Hernandez led in serving with five aces for the night,” said coach Nicole Bianchi. “Carsyn Hood had eight assists and Rylie Lattig led in hitting with six kills.”
The coach added that the league win was an overall team effort.
“It was a solid game of volleyball where the team stayed focused and did their job,” Bianchi explained.
Wednesday, the girls wrapped up the season with a 25-20, 27-25 win.
“This was such a battle for the team in the second set. We got a little comfortable and with a team like Hughson they will take advantage of any situation they can,” said Bianchi. “They were a tough competitor.”
Leading the freshmen were Ali Pence, who “had a great night leading in digs with eight total and putting down six kills,” the coach added.
Alana Snyder had one solo block and Madellyn Spurgeon led in serving with eight aces.
“The team was energized throughout both matches and I truly enjoyed watching them that game,” Bianchi said. “It was a great way to end the season and I am very proud of each of my players and all they have gained this season.”
The freshmen went 7-3 in league play.