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Varsity Volleyball Girls Battle To Win Over Linden
Staying cool under pressure, the Escalon varsity volleyball girls worked out a 3-0 win against visiting Linden on Friday, Aug. 28 in front of a large crowd in the EHS gym.

"It wasn't easy at all," head coach Teresa Williamson said of the 25-18, 25-22, 25-23 win. "Linden is a good team."

The Lady Cougars had the easiest time of it in the opener, keeping Linden at bay for much of the contest. Games two and three were much tighter, with the lead changing hands several times, especially in the finale.

"I was very impressed with the way my girls played," Williamson said of working together to get the points. "They held their composure through all three games."

Even when Linden got the upper hand, the Lady Cougars did not panic, staying focused and keeping the visiting Lions from getting too much momentum.

Katie Aprile had 30 assists and three aces on the night in an all around solid performance to lead the team. Kaitlyn Brayton had 17 kills, libero Lindsey Anderson added 21 digs and Kristi Rigg was close behind with 18 digs.

"I have juniors that are stepping up and my seniors that have been together for a long time are doing a good job in leadership," said Williamson. "There's great camaraderie already."

Williamson is working again this year with assistant coach Jim Clare at the varsity level.

"Defensively we're pretty solid and we played a great defensive match against Linden," Williamson noted.

Work is needed, she said, to improve on the blocking and the offensive line play.

The girls will have the chance to do that this week, as they head to Summerville for a Wednesday, Sept. 2 non-league match. They were also scheduled to host Oakdale on Monday, Aug. 31 after The Times went to press.

"They have some strong seniors and they have one of the best setters in the league ... it will be a tough match," Williamson said in looking ahead to the Oakdale competition. "This will help prepare us for (Trans-Valley) league."

For the JV girls, it was their first match under new head coach Kayla Kootstra and they defeated Linden 25-18, 25-16.

"We had scrimmaged last Saturday at Sierra but this was our first match," Kootstra said, noting that a scheduled Aug. 27 contest with St. Mary's was canceled, putting the girls on the floor for their first legitimate game action on Aug. 28.

"Megan Faria performed well, she had kills at key moments for us," Kootstra said. "Kaylyn Lee played well in the back row, she's our libero and provided some key defense."

Overall, Kootstra said she was pleased with the effort she saw from the girls and glad to see the win go on the books.

"We have things we still need to work on," she said, "but I like the dynamic of the team."

Freshman action saw the youngest Lady Cougars win, 25-11, 25-16, over their Linden counterparts. Coach Niki Hoover returns to lead the team this season.