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Tough Preseason Schedule For Volleyball Squads
Taking the court against some high-level competition, Escalon's volleyball girls are looking for improvement as they wind their way toward the start of Trans-Valley League play.

Varsity head coach Teresa Williamson is doing double duty, heading up the JV squad this season as well with JV coach Kayla Kootstra out on maternity leave. Freshman coach Niki Hoover is assisting.

Together, they have had the three squads in action over the past couple of weeks, with the varsity compiling a 2-2 mark in their first four outings, while the JV and frosh girls are playing hard but still looking for a victory.

Escalon's most satisfying win was a five-game set over host Oakdale, in which the visiting Lady Cougars fell into an 0-2 hole before battling back for the 3-2 victory on Thursday.

"We started really weak in the first game, we lost 25-20 but we were never really in it in game one. Game two was more of a mental game and we lost that, 25-18," explained Williamson. "Then the girls just clicked and started really playing well in the third. Once it clicked with them and they started passing balls, it started rolling."

Escalon won the final three, 25-15, 25-11, 15-6, to take the match.

"Oakdale has really strong servers, take nothing away from them, they're a good team," said Williamson, adding she was extremely proud of her team for battling from two games down to take the win in Oakdale's house.

The varsity girls started out their schedule against Enochs and beat them in straight sets, 25-10, 25-12 and 25-10 before falling to Ripon Christian and St. Mary's in successive contests.

The games against RC were not blowouts, but the Escalon girls never really got on track, said Williamson. Perennial power St. Mary's also put away the Lady Cougars in three, taking 25-8, 25-18, 25-21 games.

"At least we competed," Williamson said of getting stronger as the match went on. "We didn't shy away from them. Preseason is not about winning or losing, it's about getting better and getting ready for league."

For that reason, the Lady Cougars have plenty of high-powered competition on their preseason schedule.

The JV and freshman girls have each gone 0-for-4 against the tough teams to date.

"They are looking stronger each time they play," noted Williamson.

The squads will have a couple more weeks to focus on teamwork, strategy and skills, with league play starting on Sept. 22.

This week, the girls host Central Catholic on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and the varsity is in the Golden Valley Tournament on Friday and Saturday (Friday games at Escalon) with the JV girls playing in the Oakdale Tournament on Saturday.