East Union was slow to start for the third straight night.
Facing Modesto in their home opener Thursdsay, the Lancers were sparked by hard-swinging middle blocker Edmi Lopez in a resounding three-game victory (25-19, 25-12, 25-13). The converted outside hitter was the team’s closer, as she finished off each game with the clinching hit.
“She’s been a real solid middle for us,” East Union coach Rich Posz said. “She doesn’t have much of an approach but she’s got the arm swing.”
And swing away she did. Lopez paced all players with 12 kills on 28 attempts. With her team trailing in the first game, she racked up two kills and a tip to give East Union a 9-7 lead. She capped the second and third games with demonstrative spikes, the final of which punctuated one of the match’s best rallies.
It was overall a night-and-day effort from the previous match; East Union (1-1) lost in four at Lodi on Wednesday. The Lancers began the week Tuesday with a four-game win in a Foundation Game at Pacheco. Foundation Games do not count against records.
“I think for the first time we had our confidence tonight,” Posz said. “We still started slow, which was the case in all three of our matches so far this week, but once they got warmed up and built some confidence we began to pass the ball really good.”
Lopez wasn’t the only beneficiary of the improved passing, as Destiny Flores (six kills) and Haley England (five kills) also had their moments in taking over on the offensive end. Jordyn Posz set 21 assists.
“I tell the setters we want to play offense from antenna to antenna,” Posz said. “They’re still getting educated on setting away from the big blockers but tonight I think we were pretty productive from almost every position.”
East Union was also aided by its aggressiveness from the service line, which led to 10 service errors but manufactured 19 aces. Jordyn Posz racked up a team-high six aces and Alissa Burrola added four. Taylor Ward had a nice service run early in the second set when East Union built an 8-1 advantage. Its largest lead of the match was 22-8 in Game 2.
Melissa King chipped in three kills and eight digs to East Union’s balanced effort.
“A lot of people are getting a lot of (playing) time, so we’re finding out who works well together,” coach Posz said. “This team is competitive from 1 to 13. They each want to play and they’re pushing each other, so that’s good.”
There is more playing time to be had over the next two days as East Union competes in the Central Valley Classic co-hosted by Escalon and Merced. The Lancers will endure 10 best-of-three matches in all.
“We put together a tough schedule,” Posz said. “We really only have two weeks to get as many preseason touches as we can. Hopefully that carries us over (into the Valley Oak League).”
East Union 2, Modesto 0
Vanessa Cuellar, Janika Gomes and Ana Hernandez recorded three service aces each, while Kassandra Avila pounded out two kills. The Squires won, 25-19, 25-21.