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Season Opens With Split For Varsity Volleyball
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Splitting their first two matches of the season, Escalon's varsity volleyball girls lost a marathon at home, then swept to victory on the road.

They hosted West of Tracy on Tuesday and, after taking the first two games, lost the next three.

"It was a marathon," said varsity coach Rusty Fachner. "We kind of let it get out of control after we won the first two games. We made some errors and did some things we shouldn't have done."

Final scores were 18-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-21, 15-12.

"The first match, coaching wise, I probably made a couple of mistakes," admitted Fachner. "I had some people in positions, trying things to see if they would work, then I went back and put people back in their comfort zones."

Stephanie Williamson had 14 kills and 21 assists in the match, Jenna Martin added 10 assists. Chelsea Fachner had two blocks, Ashley Brown and Michele Barajas each had two aces.

"We have to play with intensity because we're not very big," Fachner added, noting that the team lost some of that intensity after letting West back in the contest.

"Chelsea struggled on the outside vs. West," said Fachner. "I put her in the middle against Oakdale and on her first 11 swings there, she had 10 kills."

Strong efforts in the loss to West came from Kacey Ball and Williamson, along with back row work from Martin and Brown.

"We need more consistency in passing the ball," Fachner said. "The ball's going to be in play a lot with us."

Regrouping after the Tuesday loss, the girls went on the road and swept three from Oakdale on Wednesday, topping the Mustangs 25-20, 25-12, 25-16.

Fachner had 11 kills and a block, along with eight aces. Williamson contributed 11 assists, Martin had 12 digs.

Fachner said it was a true team win at Oakdale, with several players getting in on the act.

"Emily McCants stepped up and did a terrific job, Michelle Williams had a huge service run in the second game, Stephanie Williamson played well," the coach explained. "Brittany Rigg had some valuable moments at middle blocker."

The team is still young, Fachner added, with only four seniors out of 14 players.

"Ten of them are juniors who haven't played a lot at the varsity level," he said. "They have to adjust to the pace, when you get to the varsity level, all the teams are good.

"We'll have some growing pains, we'll have some losses but we'll grow from them and learn."

The Lady Cougars finished the first week at 1-1 and were slated to host Summerville on Monday and travel to Manteca on Tuesday, after The Times went to press.

Fachner said the squad comes in to the season with some high expectations and goals.

"We expect to win," he said of stepping on the court. "We have to learn how to put things away at the varsity level."