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Volleyball Posts Wins Over Calaveras, Union Mine
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In the words of Escalon varsity volleyball coach Teresa Williamson, "It was a pretty fabulous week."

Her Lady Cougars hosted a pair of playoff games, topping Calaveras in Tuesday's opening round and defeating Union Mine on Thursday, Nov. 8, with both games played on the home court in Escalon.

That set up Tuesday's semifinal showdown with Ripon Christian (Nov. 13) through results were not available at press time. The winner of that match plays for the Section title on Thursday at UC Davis. Ripon Christian advanced with a first round win 3-0 win over West Campus and a 3-0 shutout of Ripon in round two. On the other side of the bracket, Sonora and Bear River played in the semifinal on Tuesday for the right to advance.

"The girls are playing great volleyball," Williamson said. "We started off with Calaveras. We won in three, 25-20, 25-14 and 27-25. They were a very, very good 16 seed team the scores really show it."

Undefeated in Trans-Valley League play, the Lady Cougars went into the playoffs as the top seed and nabbed home court advantage. They used it to their advantage by holding off the determined Calaveras team in the Nov. 6 opener.

"Taylor Laugero had 31 assists, Savannah Guerra and Cassidy Caton had four aces each and Cassidy had 18 kills," said Williamson. "Adalia Cajias was right behind her with 12, she played very well, and she had five blocks."

Nicole Bianchi had 18 digs in the win and Hailey Bush contributed 12 digs.

"They stepped up and played some solid volleyball from start to finish, Calaveras never let down," Williamson said of her team's effort. "Obviously we had to stay focused and I thought they did."

Coming back a couple of days later, the Lady Cougars hosted Union Mine, a team they have faced in the past and lost to in the playoffs. This year, Williamson said the team has found a good balance of belief in themselves and relying on each other on the court.

"I think they're approaching it with more confidence and definitely team work," the coach said.

The visitors took the first game on Thursday night by a 22-25 decision but Williamson said there wasn't any panic, just a slow start for the usually steady serve and serve-receive aspects of their game.

"They didn't really beat us, it was our errors that cost us," Williamson said.

Once the team addressed those errors, they were able to take the match in four, bouncing back to take the next three games 25-13, 25-19, 25-19.

"Game two was probably the best game of volleyball we have played," the coach noted. "Then it was a battle for games three and four; Union Mine was a go-getter, very scrappy team, they hustled after everything."

Laugero had an astounding 44 assists, with Caton notching 21 kills and Cajias 13. Brooke Silva had 11 kills.

Silva and Guerra were two JV players brought up for the post season, along with Maddie Nicholas and Mekenna Eisenga.

Williamson said a tournament in Stockton in the latter half of the season did wonders for the squad in bringing them together.

They are a different team" since then, Williamson explained. "They're not 15 individual girls, they're one team."

Former TVL rival Ripon Christian was due in town Tuesday night, after The Times went to press.

"I have a lot of respect for them," said Williamson. "They are a pretty solid team all the way around."

As far as her own team, the coach said the squad came together and got tremendous leadership from captains Samantha Shipley and Nicole Bianchi, seniors, and junior Cassidy Caton this year. Underclassmen Taylor Laugero and Krysten Rose were key pieces all the way through the season as well.