A win and a loss for Escalon came on the volleyball court this week, as the varsity squad fell to Trans-Valley League rival Ripon but bounced back for a win over Livingston.
Against Ripon, scores were 17-25, 25-18, 20-25, 21-25. After losing the first set, the varsity Lady Cougars rebounded for a win but couldn’t sustain it, losing the next two to go down 3-1.
“This was a loss we will learn a lesson from,” said head coach Teresa Williamson. “We just made too many errors and just came back a little too late.”
There were some strong individual efforts, with Hannah Boyd coming away with 33 assists and four aces, while Mandy Murphy had a monster night with 12 kills against the Lady Indians. Melanie Smith recorded four blocks at the net and Tess Cosby contributed with 20 digs.
Wednesday, Sept. 19 on the home court, Escalon had a chance to get back on track and were able to craft a 3-1 win over the visiting Livingston Lady Wolves.
Host Escalon took a 25-18 win in set one and 25-10 in set two. Livingston battled back for a 25-27 victory in the third set before Escalon was able to close it out with a 25-15 win in set four.
Boyd had 31 assists and contributed four aces on the night. Meadow Naraghi also had four aces and notched 11 kills. Leila Phillips came up big with four blocks and Cosby had 27 digs.
“Livingston is new to our league this year. I wasn’t sure what caliber of a team they were,” Williamson noted. “They were very scrappy and never gave up on a ball. My girls let up in game three and lost the set. They regrouped and finished it in four.”
Against Ripon, the Escalon JV girls got a satisfying victory, 2-0.
“My girls were on fire,” coach Krystal Rodriguez said. “This game was exactly what these girls needed to connect. They played an amazing game and by far their best this season.”
Scores were 25-23 and 25-18 with Madi Faria leading the team with 12 assists and three aces. Kailey Costa had 11 digs and Koren Rodriguez added six kills.
“Their hustle, communication, drive and their compassion for each other was so refreshing and rewarding to see. It was the exact recipe they needed to pull off the win in two matches,” added Rodriguez. “By the end of the game I wasn’t just proud to be their coach, I was honored.”
Honorable mentions in the contest went to Liz Cortez, Mya Scott and Madelyn Page.
“It felt really good to win against Ripon. We all as a team went into the game with intensity. We worked hard as a team to push through and get the W,” said Faria.
Added teammate Cortez: “I feel like we played a great game against Ripon ... we were all nervous at first because we were playing our rival but we didn’t let that get in our heads; we played our game and we took the win … I just want to say good job to my team for fighting and pushing ‘til we heard that last whistle.”
Escalon hosted Livingston on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and again took the win in two, 25-12, 25-19, putting away the visiting Lady Wolves.
Costa had 16 digs, Faria notched six aces and 23 assists.
“Dolce Jimenez our transfer student from Texas, her first time on the court she served four serves, two of which were aces,” noted the coach.
Rodriguez had five kills and Scott had four.
“All of my hitters got a kill Wednesday night, even my libero,” Rodriguez said. “Jamie Dutra and Alexis Barron are both improving and were able to see court time and earn points for their team. Dutra served twice with one ace and attacked the ball once at the net. Proud of both of them and their continued hard work.”
Escalon’s youngest Lady Cougars got a win at home against Ripon on Sept. 17, winning 2-1.
“We won the first set 25-19, lost the second set 23-25, and won the third set 15-10,” said coach Nicole Bianchi. “It was an intense game from the beginning all the way to the end. Ripon is a very tough competitor and the team fought hard to get the win.”
Matty Bollen led in digs with 13 total on the night, Valeria Gonzalez earned four kills and Madison Hagglund led with three aces.
On Wednesday, Sept. 19 the freshmen hosted Livingston and won the first set 25-12 and then the second 25-8.
Haylee Barajas served up seven aces and Marissa Silva led in kills with seven and also added one block.
“The team stayed focused and played great volleyball to finish the night,” Bianchi said.
Over the weekend the youngest Lady Cougars captured second place honors in the Stockton Classic Tournament held at Edison High School.
“It was a great day for volleyball. We started by playing American Canyon and we beat them in three sets. Next we played Mountain House who we beat in two sets,” Bianchi said. “Then, we faced Sonora who had been looking like a tough competitor throughout the day. The team stayed focused and determined and pulled out the win in both sets moving us on to play in the championship game against Manteca.”
At that point, Bianchi said, she had to leave the tournament for a prior commitment and JV coach Krystal Rodriguez stepped in.
“I had to leave right before the championship game and was so sad,” Bianchi admitted. “Coach Krystal took over. It was a tough match and the team played hard but lost 23-25 and 22-25. Emily Middleton really stood out on the right side earning many kills for the team. As always, our serving was strong, gaining us leads against teams. I am very, very happy with the level of play the team sustained all day.”
The volleyball squads were scheduled to play Hughson on Monday, Sept. 24 after The Times went to press and have a bye on Wednesday. Round two of league starts next week.