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Down 0-2, EU storms back, stuns Buffs

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Davina Bennett sends a bump over the net in front of Gianna Hedin and Brittany LaMar Wednesday night at Winter Gym. EU came back to win, 3-2.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED September 24, 2009 12:46 a.m.
It was Manteca and East Union, and yes, it was a drag-down, knock-out fight to the finish, but after falling in Games 1 and 2, 15-25, and 21-25, respectively, the Lancers stormed all the way back for 25-22, 25-23 and 15-11 wins in Games 3 through 5 Wednesday at Winter Gym.

Buffaloes head coach Tim Horning had seen his squad squander 2-0 leads twice this season, and the third time was anything but a charm.

Cynthia Perez was brilliant from all over the court, sending in 10 kills, predominantly from the back row, and rejecting a pair of blocks.

Abby Rosas had eight digs, and Davina Bennett turned in 24 assists and five aces, but EU trailed just once early in Game 3 and was able to shift the momentum squarely into the red from that point on.

“EU played great defense,” Horning said. “We were able to capitalize on some of their mistakes early, but after that, you know, it’s been the same thing all season, we get a win, we get confident and we just start making mistakes.”

The key moment in Game 3 came with the score knotted at six and Morgan Hulsebosch headed to the endline. Hulsebosch sent home two of her team-high three aces in succession before Brittany LaMar (nine blocks) drilled home a powerful kill to make it 9-6. Hulsebosch would serve EU to an 11-6 lead.

Game 4 was tied at 22 apiece until Haley Rosenthal (five blocks) delivered one of her team-high nine kills to give her squad the advantage in the final moments.

Consecutive LaMar blocks in Game 5 made it 9-5 Lancers, and Blanca Segura landed the knockout punch with an ace to end it.

“It was exciting and a lot of it had to do with one of my shortest girls (Segura) in the front row,” EU head coach Eryn Bowers said. “We had a middle out (Rachel O’Neal, illness), and our right was out in Games 4 and 5.

“The girls adjusted well and took it down. They were motivated, and they wanted it.”

Bowers said the Lancers had a team meeting at practice this week to talk about team goals and getting the season back on track. If Wednesday’s thrilling win was any indication, it appears the meeting resonated.

“We had a talk,” Bowers said. “We set the standards. How they’ve been playing is not up to East Union standards, or their standards. They know where they need to be. We just had a ‘Come to volleyball’ talk. They haven’t been able to transition practices to the games, but they’re starting to come around.”

Carmen Haro and Taylor Maruca were pivotal in the backcourt, as both picked up nine assists.

Miranda Hamm scooped six digs, and both Hulsebosch and Lexy Posz played every minute once again, providing both leadership and intangibles along the way.

“LaMar had a great game,” Bowers said. “Blanca Segura, who probably hasn’t played more than five points (previously) stepped it up tonight with the game-winning serve and playing a spot she’s not used to.

“She’s a great team player. She filled in where I needed her, no questions asked.”

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