After losing the first set 22-25, the Escalon varsity volleyball girls stormed back to shut down the host Hughson Huskies 25-13, 25-16 and 25-15 to take a 3-1 win in Trans-Valley League action.
The game on Sept. 24 was the only one on the schedule for the varsity squad this past week, as they had a league bye on Wednesday.
In the win, Hannah Boyd led the team in assists while Mandy Murphy had a busy night with 19 kills. Leila Phillips and Sage Davis each had two blocks, Melanie Smith served up four aces and Tess Cosby had 18 digs.
Along with a league win over Hughson, 25-12, 25-9, the Escalon JV girls traveled to the Stockton Classic Tournament and placed second out of 16 teams on Saturday.
Coach Krystal Rodriguez said though they started the week off with a 2-0 win, it wasn’t necessarily an easy victory.
“Most of the time there’s something always off; either it’s the offense or the defense. Against Hughson it was our defense that was a little rough but they pulled it through in serves and with Madi Faria being an aggressive setter and helping her hitters finish plays,” Rodriguez explained. “It’s so nice to see their progression through the weeks.”
Koren Rodriguez had four aces, Kailey Costa had four digs. Liz Cortez added three kills and Madi Faria had five assists.
Saturday, it was the JV Stockton Classic at Weston Ranch High School.
“It’s a bracket style tournament so everyone is guaranteed four games,” Rodriguez said.
Escalon beat Waterford in two games, topped Sir Francis Drake out of the Bay Area in two and then beat West Campus in two.
The girls then battled but fell to Manteca by a 2-1 final, losing 23-25, 25-10, 10-15.
“What a killer weekend,” Rodriguez said. “I had such an amazing time coaching my 13 and I am so incredibly proud of how they played individually and especially as a team. There’s no way we could have done as well as we did if they hadn’t worked as a team. Key players showed up to play and you could absolutely tell a big difference in the team’s chemistry.”
Player Kailey Costa was enthusiastic about the team’s performance as well.
“Saturday was one of our best days, we worked together as one and communicated as a whole,” Costa said.
Rodriguez noted a couple of standout efforts.
“Kalynn Cavanaugh and Madelyn Page stepped up their game and filled in when the team needed them,” said the coach.
As a team, the JV girls piled up 51 aces in the tournament as well as an astounding 157 digs. There were 39 assists, 43 kills, 12 blocks.
“Heart, hustle, communication, drive, energy, passion ... these were all needed to pull off the wins we did, not losing a single match until championships and even then the scores were close,” Rodriguez said.
On the road at Hughson on Sept. 24, the youngest Lady Cougars took the win in two sets, 25-5 and 25-16.
“Matty Bollen had five aces on the night and played a very solid defense. Marissa Silva also had a solid defense with one block and one assisted block to Valeria Gonzalez,” said coach Nicole Bianchi. “In the second set, the team began to relax and was quickly reminded that they need to stay focused and sustain the same amount of energy throughout the entire match. It’s something that younger teams have a hard time learning; however, I believe my players were able to regain their focus and energy to finish the game.”