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Spartans battle Lancers, fall in four

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Spartans battle Lancers, fall in four

East Union senior Brittany Lamar led the Lancers with 11 digs, five kills and two aces in the Lancers' win over Lathrop Tuesday. For more photos go to .

Photo by Chris Leonard/

POSTED September 22, 2010 2:26 a.m.
LATHROP – The Lathrop Spartans were not able to complete their improbable comeback, but they were able to serve notice to the rest of the Valley Oak League that they would not be a pushover in a 25-15, 25-22, 23-25 and 25-21 loss to East Union Tuesday.

The Lancers (2-0 VOL, 4-2 overall) opened the contest with a lackluster effort and never completely turned it around, trailing the Spartans in each of the four games. East Union closed the first game on a 15-5 run after being tied 10-10, but proved incapable of closing Lathrop out with ease for the rest of the match.

“The difference in that first game was the girls finally pulled it together after a timeout and me yelling at them,” East Union head coach Eryn Bowers said. “I told them that they are going to have to play East Union volleyball.

“Tonight, we simply did not show up. This was not East Union volleyball.”

Lathrop, on the other hand, seemed poised to take advantage of a haphazard Lancer effort, pulling out a game-three victory after closing to within a point (23-22) in the waning moments of game two. Lathrop opened game three on fire, scoring seven of the first nine points on its way to victory.

“Definitely, East Union is one of our competitors with the close hometowns,” first-year Lathrop head coach Nicole Unrein said. “But my girls came out and played hard. I have no complaints about my team.

“These girls fought it out the entire match.”

The Spartans’ (0-2, 3-3) effort did not waver after the game-three win, coming out and posting an early lead in game four. East Union was forced to ride the hustle play of Lexy Posz and a strong showing at the net from Brittany LaMar to reassert themselves as the dominant club.

East Union built a comfortable 15-7 lead behind  a pair of aces from Taylor Maruca, but Lathrop would respond, chipping away at East Union’s lead until the Lancers were forced to take a timeout with a 21-19 lead.

“We are going to have to go back and work on some things obviously,” Bowers said. “This group is going to have to pull it together. East Union cannot go down to other team’s levels; we have to bring teams up to our level.

“We are going to have to bring our game; it cannot be what we saw tonight.”

The Lancers were led by Lamar’s 11 digs, five kills and two aces, while Starla Beltran turned in a team-high nine kills. Beltran also dished out five aces, including four consecutive in the game two victory. Maruca led the Lancers with a team-high 13 assists.

The Spartans were led by senior Cecelia Lopez’ 20 digs and 10 kills, while teammate Janel Butler had a game-high 22 assists and three aces. Krystal Ruiz banged home seven kills and Brittany Rallios chipped in 10 digs. Grahzel Estrada led Lathrop at the net with five blocks.

East Union will be back on the court Thursday when it plays host to Kimball High, while the Spartans will try and get their first VOL win when they travel to Manteca to take on the Sierra Timberwolves.

“I think we played well tonight, we communicated and played like a team,” Lopez said. “We are learning to trust each other; we just are going to have to work harder.

“We were kind of off tonight; we will definitely work on things in practice.”

East Union 2, Lathrop 0
The Lancers have opened the VOL season with back-to-back victories, stopping the Lathrop Spartans 28-26 and 25-17 Tuesday in Lathrop.

Alex Scopas led the team with 15 digs, while Kayla Lamont dished out a game-high 30 assists in the win. Alex Steele had eight aces and five kills in the win.

East Union (2-0, 7-2) will try and make it three straight when it hosts Kimball High Thursday.
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