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Spartans hang tough

EU buckles down to upend game Lathrop

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Spartans hang tough

East Union's Brittany LaMar gets down for the dig.


POSTED September 15, 2009 3:18 a.m.

LATHROP — Considering how hotly contested the first three games were, the deciding fourth, clinched easily by visiting East Union 25-10, was somewhat of a downer.

First-year varsity Lathrop opened its first-ever Valley Oak League match with a bang Monday and took a 23-19 lead in the first game. The Lancers came back to win 25-23 and split the next two — 25-21, 24-26.

 “I was honestly expecting to come in and go three and out, but (Lathrop coach Angela Cuellar) has definitely turned this program around,” East Union coach Eryn Bowers said. “It’s a good step for them. I think that people shouldn’t underestimate Lathrop.”

Cuellar coached the sophomore team at East Union (1-0) over the past four years and had most of the current Lancers under her watch during that span.

The Spartans (0-1, 2-4 overall), surely impressed with their competitive spirit and ability to cover the court, but in the end experience won out.

Winning the first game would have been a huge boost for Lathrop, but winning the third after going down 14-4 early on showed its coach a lot.

A series of unforced errors on East Union’s end allowed the host team to come back. Blessie Caro blasted in one of her team-high 11 kills to tie it at 24, and Cecelia Lopez’s ace put the Spartans in position to win their first regular-season game.

“If we can take one game from East Union, I think we could win some more in league,” Cuellar said. “We’re just now getting healthy again. Most of the girls on the team have been battling the flu, for being healthy is a big plus for us.”

Setter Janel Butler had a terrific match for Lathrop as she handed out 24 assists. Lopez turned in a solid all-around effort with seven kills, four aces and three blocks.

Haley Rosenthal was key to East Union’s victory. She led the team offensively with 10 kills, but most of that came during crucial moments of the match.

“She was our go-to girl, definitely,” Bowers said of Rosenthal. “The setters need to recognize who’s on and who’s off, and she was on tonight.”

Amber Abidi added seven kills, Taylor Maruca had 15 assists and Morgan Hulsebosch and Lexy Posz recorded three aces apiece.

Sierra 3, Weston Ranch 0

At Weston Ranch, Alysia Atkins crushed seven kills, and Jaslynn Liotard finished with four to go with three aces and three digs to lead the Timberwolves (1-0, 5-1) to a 25-7, 25-6, 25-10 victory. Modesto Rodriguez chipped in 11 assists, and Nicole Sylvester five digs.

DeArbia Gardner led the Cougars (0-1, 0-6) with two kills, Kelsey Simonds had two blocks and Andrea Vega picked up 10 digs.

Sierra has a VOL bye Thursday but will face West of Tracy Thursday to help prepare for conference powerhouses Sonora and Oakdale.

“We have to bring our ‘A’ game next week, so hopefully playing a good team like West will get us going,” Sierra coach Tevani Liotard said.

East Union 2, Lathrop 0

In Lathrop, Lauren Ferguson churned out three kills and three blocks to lead the Squires (1-0, 7-2) to a 25-19, 27-25 victory. Kristen Bautista was stellar from the service line where she dealt seven aces.

Alexis Steele and Bautista each picked up four digs, and Kristen Piasacki recorded 12 assists.

Lathrop 2, East Union 1

Jessica Campos led East Union with seven aces in a tough 13-25, 25-14, 10-15 loss.

Sierra 2, Weston Ranch 1

The Timberwolves won 25-14, 21-25, 15-11 behind Alana Hughes’ 15 service points. Stevie Leeman contributed two kills, and Nicole Moreno had one.

To contact Jonamar Jacinto, e-mail, or call (209) 249-3538.

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