After winning their second consecutive Section championship earlier this month, Escalon’s varsity volleyball girls continued their season in the NorCals.
Seeded number eight in Northern California Division III, the Lady Cougars hosted No. 9 Dublin on Tuesday, Nov. 9.
After dropping their first set of the postseason in the opener, 20-25, the host varsity volleyball girls came back to win the next three. Set two was a 25-14 win for Escalon, then they went up 2-1 with a 25-23 win.
But Dublin would not go down without a fight, and the Lady Cougars battled to a 28-26 win in a marathon fourth set to win the opening round contest, 3-1.
Senior Mandy Murphy and junior Emily Vickers, this year’s team captains, each had 15 kills in the win while Bella Cormack added six.
Rylie Lattig notched 25 assists and Carsyn Hood had 13. Digs leaders were Grace Ferreira with 33, Vickers with 24 and Murphy with 20.
Cormack added four blocks on the night with one each from Murphy and Valeria Gonzalez. Five players notched an ace: Ferreira, Vickers, Lattig, Murphy and Cormack.
After the Tuesday night win at home, the Lady Cougars had to travel to face off with the top seed in Division III, the Carondelet Cougars of Concord. Carondelet was well rested, having had a first round bye as the result of their No. 1 seed status.
A large crowd followed the Escalon squad to Concord for the 6 p.m. contest on Thursday, Nov. 11. Early on, there were more Escalon fans in the stands than those for the home team and the Lady Cougar supporters also had the edge in volume. But the home side of the stands did fill up by the start of the first set and the host Cougars played a steady, methodical game, never allowing the Lady Cougars of Escalon to get into any kind of rhythm. Though Escalon was able to keep it close and engaged in a back-and-forth battle with the lead changing several times, the host team was victorious, 25-22, in set one. Carondelet’s steady play continued and they went on to sweep Escalon, 25-20 in set two and 25-18 in the third and final set. The quarterfinal loss ended Escalon’s season, but the Lady Cougars finished with a 30-3 overall record, 10-0 in league and won both the Trans-Valley League title and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 blue banner.
Against Carondelet, Lattig had 18 assists while Cormack had four blocks. Vickers paced the team with 11 kills and Murphy had 10. Vickers added 19 digs and libero Ferreira had 16 on the night.
“I’m very proud of these girls for never giving up,” said head coach Teresa Williamson. “They fought to the end.”
Escalon was never able to hold serve for more than a couple of points in the Thursday night contest and though there were plenty of exciting moments, the host Carondelet Cougars always seemed to find a way to slowly regain the momentum and stayed a few steps ahead of Escalon throughout the match.
Still, Williamson said it was an outstanding season, including a special 13-0 record at home, the girls never losing a match on their home court.
“I’m very proud of all that these girls accomplished,” said Williamson. “I would like to thank the fans for all their support. Our little town is amazing.”