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Varsity Volleyball Girls Take Third At Oakdale Tournament
A non-league win, a victory in Trans-Valley League play and a third place showing at the multi-team Oakdale tournament made for a busy week of volleyball for Escalon's varsity Lady Cougars.

The girls started action with a road game at Turlock on Sept. 20 and coach Teresa Williamson said they put the contest in the win column by a 3-1 margin.

They fell in the opener, 23-25, but then came back with wins of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-16 to take the match.

"We really started off slow, in game one we fought back and forth," Williamson said of battling but ultimately falling to host Turlock. "Game two, we got a lot of momentum, we were really serving well. Games three and four, we just kind of took over and won."

Leaders were Megan Faria with 11 kills, Shay Beam with 28 assists and two blocks and Nicole Bianchi with 45 digs.

"Then we kicked off league at Riverbank with a 3-0 win," Williamson said. "I think that they lost a lot of girls and their coach is rebuilding that program."

Escalon made quick work of the host Lady Bruins, taking the contest with scores of 25-7, 25-6 and 25-8.

"I was really proud of my girls, they didn't lose their focus," Williamson said.

The big story of the match was Faria, who blasted 14 service aces over the three games to lead the team in the win.

At the Oakdale Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 25, it was a full day of competition for the Lady Cougars. They won six matches and lost just one, ending up with third place honors.

"In pool play, we defeated Downey 2-0, Manteca 2-0 and Calaveras 2-0," Williamson explained. "In bracket play, we got past Hughson 2-0 and beat Modesto Christian 2-0 but that was definitely a fight. Then we got Summerville in the semifinals and lost to them, 2-1."

Shay Beam earned All Tournament Team honors.

"They played really well all day long," Williamson said of her team. "There was some great digging on our part and we served very well, Shay is setting very well and she has been a great leader on the court for us."

League action was slated to continue this week, with the girls at Ripon on Sept. 27, after The Times went to press. They host Orestimba on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

The JV girls, also coached by Williamson, played at Turlock and in Riverbank but did not get a win this week.

"They really struggled at Turlock and lost in two," the coach noted. "Sam Shipley and Adalia Cajias had three kills each and Anastasia Rodriguez had two aces. Sarah Fernandez had 16 assists and Hailey Bush was our leader in digs."

Opening up league play at Riverbank, it was a 2-1 loss for the young Lady Cougars.

Scores were 15-25, 25-23, 7-15.

"We had some errors that really hurt and it was a lack of experience on the court," Williamson said of being unable to get the league win. "But they are improving."

Shipley had six kills against Riverbank, Fernandez added 14 assists and two aces, with 21 digs from Bush.

"That's the best I've seen her play," Williamson noted of Bush's effort.

All three squads, freshmen, JV and varsity, will be in action on the home court against Orestimba on Wednesday, staring with the frosh match at 4:30 p.m.