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Volleyball Girls Cap Week With Second Place Showing
At the end of a long day of competition on Saturday, the Escalon varsity volleyball girls came out with second place honors from the Oakdale Invitational Tournament.

They were second to host Oakdale, after defeating every other team they faced during the day.

In pool play, the varsity Lady Cougars faced off with 10 teams, each in a one-game-to-25 format to decide the winner.

"We went undefeated, we saw a lot of different varieties of teams, a lot of different hits and styles," head coach Teresa Williamson said. "We adjusted very well and had good serves."

Games were going on in both the old and new gyms on the campus of Oakdale High, with the Lady Cougars playing all 12 of their pool play games in the old gym ... minus any air conditioning.

Adding to the heat issue on Saturday, the team lost Casey Schmidig after the first game, leaving the court with a fever.

"She's a key on both offense and defense," Williamson said. "Alex Beeler and Taylor LaRossa did a good job stepping up."

In the quarterfinal round, Escalon topped Bret Harte, 1-0, and then handed Calaveras a loss in two games in the semifinal round, 2-0.

That put the Lady Cougars into the championship match against host Oakdale.

"We lost in three, 25-21, 19-25, and 14-16," said Williamson. "I think the heat and the long day finally got to them, we were playing tired and it showed."

Ten games in pool play and six more in the final round added up to 16 volleyball games over the course of the day.

Kaitlyn Brayton and Katie Aprile picked up All Tournament Team honors.

"Lindsey Anderson could have easily been an all tourney selection," Williamson said, noting her libero's strong, consistent play throughout the day of competition.

The coach said it was difficult to get that close to the title of the invitational and come away with second place, but it did provide a small measure of revenge for the host Lady Mustangs, who lost to Escalon in preseason play.

In Trans-Valley League games this week, the Lady Cougars were home to host Riverbank on Tuesday, Sept 22 and shut down the Lady Bruins in three.

Escalon won by scores of 25-12, 25-13, 25-8.

"Honestly, it was pretty uneventful, the girls came in and took care of business," Williamson explained.

Katie Aprile had 23 assists, Casey Schmidig had 16 digs, with 11 kills from Kaitlyn Brayton and three aces from Kristi Rigg.

"They are one of the best Riverbank teams I've seen in a while," Williamson noted of this year's edition of the Lady Bruins. "They're just going to get better."

At Modesto Christian on Thursday, the girls took a 25-16, 25-16, 25-9 win.

"We were really focused," Williamson said. "They're a good team and what kept us in the game was good serving, also the girls really stepped it up and blocked balls."

Aprile had 26 assists, with Brayton collecting 13 kills and two aces. Morgan Jensen, Rigg and Aprile had two blocks each while Rigg added two aces as well. Williamson also pointed to the growth of player Morgan Jensen as being key in this week's action.

"She is just improving and dominating at the net," the coach said.

The girls were slated to be at Ripon for the final game of round one in TV play on Tuesday, Sept. 29 after The Times went to press. They host Ripon Christian on Thursday, Oct. 1 to start the second round.

"What we need is more consistency, all around," Williamson said. "We'll work on that."