ESCALON — Escalon was on the attack Tuesday night, firing 22 aces at Ripon Christian in a 21-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-15 non-league win for the Cougars.
“Our serve-receive is one of the areas that needs the most improvement overall,” Knights coach Jocelyn Benziger said. “We have a lot of good going on when we are in a defensive position and when we are transitioning off the net there is a lot of growth I am seeing there.
“But serve-receive is definitely one our weaker points when we are playing teams that have a strong serve. It’s going to be another thing to work on during practice. We’ll get there.”
The two teams split the first two sets that saw nine ties. Ripon Christian (10-7) never trailed in the first set, led briefly midway through the second, and aside from a 1-0 edge to start the fourth set had its last lead at 11-10 in the third.
Escalon (4-10) could not pull away for most of the third set, leading by 18-16 when the Knights hit the ball long to bump that lead to 19-16.
Enter Jaden Scott.
The Cougars senior not only ended the set on a 6-0 service run, all six points came by ace.
“I think or team hits its spots easily,” Escalon coach Teresa Williamson said. “We have tough serves and the seniors stepped up tonight. They have a lot of focus.
“Jaden Scott has a tough top spin and it is really tough to pass.”
Even when the Cougars were not hurling aces at Ripon Christian, quite often the Escalon serves were too tough to handle and the Knights were unable to mount any attacks.
“I think we just lost sight of it,” Ripon Christian’s Page Vos said. “We were working really hard but then I think our serve-receive took off in the wrong direction.
“We definitely could have got it back. We played really well at times.”
Vos led the Knights attack with eight kills, six aces, five digs and a block. Carly Eastham added six kills and two blocks and Taylor Anema (two blocks), Makenzie Miller (two blocks) and Lyndsey Van Groningen (four blocks) had two kills each.
Elizabeth Weststeyn had 14 assists and an ace for Ripon Christian, Bethany Silveira 10 digs and two aces and Emily Manes four digs and two aces.