Two road trips were on the schedule for Escalon’s varsity volleyball girls this past week but neither one was too far … and both went in the win column.
Modesto Christian and Riverbank were the TVL opponents and the Lady Cougars took 3-0 victories over each.
First up was the trip to Modesto Christian and Escalon came away with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-18 win.
Hannah Boyd had 24 assists while Melanie Smith added 14 kills. Meadow Naraghi had a strong night with nine aces and one block, with Tess Cosby contributing 14 digs.
In action at Riverbank on Wednesday, Sept. 12 the girls were at Riverbank and made relatively quick work of the host Lady Bruins, 25-9, 25-9, 25-6.
Game statistics showed Boyd with 23 assists, Smith with 10 kills. Leila Phillips and Sage Davis each had one block and Boyd served up three aces on the night. Cosby added 26 digs.
“The girls are playing well,” varsity coach Teresa Williamson said. “They have such great team chemistry and communication.”
The team was also focused heading into this week’s league games, the coach added.
On the road last week for both Trans-Valley League matches, the JV girls defeated Modesto Christian at Riverbank.
“We had to switch a few things around due to some injuries which kept us working hard all week,” said JV coach Krystal Rodriguez. “Since we had to adjust, I asked some girls to play positions they aren’t normally going to be playing this season but have knowledge of the position asked to play. They accepted the challenge and successfully won both of their games this week.”
At Modesto Christian on Sept. 10, Escalon took a 25-11, 25-8 win.
“When you’re a fast tempo team and have to play slower it gets challenging to keep focused and at times very frustrating,” the coach noted, but said her team did well to stay focused and played a better second set than the first.
“I was fortunate enough to be able to play with the lineup enough to give others a chance to play more. Jamie Duntra is a transfer student from Easy Union and had a late start to the program but has definitely been coming along and learning a lot. Jamie is a great kid and tough little server who was able to grab an ace on Monday night,” added Rodriguez. “Alexis Barron is normally kicking around a soccer ball but this year decided to pick up a volleyball. As a sophomore being brand new to a sport can be very difficult but Alexis has been growing and quickly learning everything about the sport in a short amount of time. She’s intelligent and is quickly learning that volleyball isn’t easy but it’s a lot of fun.”
Madi Faria had 12 assists, Cesi Rodriguez had three kills, Liz Cortez had nine aces and Koren Rodriguez at libero had four digs.
“Mya Scott continues to work hard as the middle blocker having two solo blocks,” the coach said.
At Riverbank on Wednesday, the match was a 2-0 win for Escalon, 25-15, 25-18.
“This year we were made aware not to take Riverbank lightly after hearing of their feat over Hughson. So going into the Riverbank game we expected to play hard which we did in the first set and then sort of let go for a moment in the second set but got back to business and finished it,” Rodriguez said. “I believe since we came into the gym with that mentality they came more ready to play than usual, which I was very pleased with.”
Top stats against Riverbank go to Koren Rodriguez, who played libero and had 10 digs, Cortez had six kills, Faria with five assists and six aces.
“Honorable mentions go to Gena Goodman and Madelyn Page for stepping up when their team needed them; they played front row and did very well,” noted the coach. “They helped get the team out of a rut that could have nearly cost them the set.”
There were no league games on the schedule for the youngest Lady Cougars this past week but they packed plenty of volleyball into their weekend, playing in the Golden Valley Tournament at Merced High School. They opened up with Merced and went 1-1.
“Pool play was only two sets with a cap at 25 points,” explained freshman coach Natalie Bianchi. “We then played Gregori and we won 25-16 in the first set and lost 20-25 in the second. In the first set we came out strong and determined however, in the second set I believe the team backed off a little and Gregori took it and ran.”
Next, they faced Hilmar – a team they are familiar with – and won the first set 25-12, the second set 25-21.
“The second set was a little more of a fight but we were still able to pull out the win. In our final game of pool play, we played Pitman and won both sets 25-18 and 25-21,” Bianchi said. “With our wins and losses we placed second in pool play to Merced, who placed first.”
The team then moved locations to Golden Valley High School where the top two teams in each pool came to play for the championship.
“We began the gold bracket by playing West Tracy and we won both sets, 25-12 and 25-15. Bracket play was best two out of three sets with no cap on points,” explained Bianchi. “With that being said, we then played Buhach Colony. We won the first set 25-20, lost the second and third sets, 20-25 and 8-15. Buhach was definitely one of the strongest teams we played in the day, and it was a very long day. The team fought very hard in every set and I couldn’t be happier with the level of play they sustained all day.”
With the loss against Buhach, the frosh girls were out of the tournament but had a solid showing overall, placing in the top five.
“Haylee Barajas worked very hard throughout the whole day, I know running a 5-1 with one setter for 13 sets is asking a lot but she played very well,” noted Bianchi. “Matty Bollen was also a standout in the back row taking control of defense. Grace Ferreira and Madison Hagglund did a great job at the net, especially with out of system sets which often require timing and a great amount of control. Marissa Silva was a force at the net; she was very disciplined with her timing on overpass balls and also had a number of blocks on the day.”
Action for the volleyball squads this week is scheduled to include a home match against Livingston on Wednesday, Sept. 19 with the freshmen at 4:30 p.m., JV at 5:30 p.m. and varsity at 6:30 p.m.
All three teams will host Hughson on Monday, Sept. 24 with the same game times and the freshmen are scheduled to travel to the Stockton Classic on Saturday, Sept. 22.