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Varsity Lady Cougars On Winning Streak
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On the heels of a hugely successful trip to the Golden Valley Tournament in Merced - coming home with the championship trophy - Escalon's varsity volleyball girls kept up the torrid pace by rattling off two non-league wins in action this week.

"We had a great tournament, we beat some big teams at the Golden Valley Classic," agreed coach Rusty Fachner. "We won it by playing defense and Chelsea (Fachner) was tremendous in the tournament."

She picked up MVP honors and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Michelle Williams and Steph Williamson.

"We beat Sanger, 25-20, 26-24," Fachner said of their first game in the Saturday, Sept. 18 tournament.

They went on to defeat Mariposa, 25-17, 25-19 and topped Los Banos, 25-10, 25-12.

"We had a huge match against Turlock, there was a revenge motive," Fachner said, noting that Turlock had beaten the Lady Cougars early in the season. "We stopped them, 25-14, 25-15."

The squad went to three games against Beyer, winning in a 25-20, 21-25, 15-13 match.

"We came back from being down 13-9 in that one to win," said Fachner. "Then we beat Sonora 25-17, 25-20 in the final."

Fachner said the team was hitting on all cylinders in the tournament and bested several Division I teams on the way to the trophy.

"I had some coaches come up to me and say that we were kind of the benchmark for them, that they based their defense on what we were doing and that's a huge compliment," Fachner said. "We just dig and dig and dig."

Michelle Williams had an outstanding all around tournament, while Steph Williamson was "tremendous" in setting the ball.

"Ashley Brown and Jenna Martin were consistent when we needed them," added Fachner. "Emily McCants had some real good swings and Sandi French played solid volleyball all the way through, Michele Barajas started out a little slowly at setter but ended with a bang."

After six matches on Saturday and making a long road trip to Jackson to face off with Argonaut on Monday, Fachner was afraid there would be a let down from his players. He needn't have worried.

"We continued to dig balls, Jenna Martin served her tail off and Megan Warren was making some great strides," he said.

Final in the match was Escalon 3, Argonaut 0, with the Lady Cougars winning with scores of 25-12, 25-5, 25-12.

Wednesday, they were in action on the home court hosting Central Catholic and won in three, 25-15, 25-9, 25-17.

"We played a little ragged," admitted Fachner, "but I knew that was going to happen, we had played a lot of volleyball."

Key to the win against Central was the work of Laken Naraghi, taking over for Williams, who got injured in practice.

"Laken stepped in and did a tremendous job, she had 13 digs against Central Catholic and out of 25 serves, she had 21 service points."

Fachner said the team is making strides, continuing to improve as a team as he improves as a coach.

"I'm learning how to coach them, they're learning how to play for me," he explained. "They are becoming a very close-knit team and we're not looking past anyone, we're right where we need to be at this point."

As the team has come together, the wins have come, with a 10-game winning streak to their credit.

"A couple of weeks ago, we were 4-2, now we're 14-2," said Fachner.

The girls will be on the road Thursday, facing off with Patterson.