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Soph champions replacing EUs graduated talent
Sophomore middle blocker Loretta Kakala gave East Union a lift as a midseason call-up to the varsity team last year. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

It is not often that a team has momentum after graduating its core players, but the East Union volleyball team is riding high going into this year’s Valley Oak League campaign.

“We had our first 2-0 win season at East Union since 1995,” Lancers coach Rich Posz said of his team’s 7-7 league effort and overall mark of 20-11-2. “I lost the majority of my team last year due to graduation. Last year’s sophomore team won the VOL so I am excited as that team was very competitive.”

 Posz is anticipating senior leadership the help focus the young squad.

 “I have two returning players that I expect to step up and be our leaders of this young team,” Posz said. “Destiny Flores will be playing all-around and Estefany Jauregui will be filling the role of Libero and both of these seniors will be getting a lot of court time.”

 With Sonora leaving the VOL due to alignment and Central Catholic coming in, Posz will not miss the trip to Bud Castle Gym.

 “Sonora has been so solid in the league for the past 10 to 12 years with either winning or sharing the VOL title each of those years,” Posz said. “They have a great program up there and it was always hard to compete up there.

 “Even if Sonora was still in the league I feel we would have competed with them this year. I don’t know much about Central Catholic other than they have made the playoffs in the past.”

 Realignment is not the only recent change to VOL volleyball. Last season was the first without power rankings and the Lancers did not finish in the top three in the VOL and as such did not make the playoffs.

 “It was very frustrating to not make the playoffs as I feel if the format for the playoffs wouldn’t have changed we would have definitely been in,” Posz said “We just didn’t take care of business and win a couple of games that we had control of and have nobody to blame but ourselves.

 “We let those games slip away from us and as a coach I have learned a lot about those game situations and hopefully will be able to help the team get the momentum back and just win the next play. That is our goal this year to just win the play, then focus on the next play. One play at a time.”

 The Lancers play their Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Game on the road Tuesday, Sept. 2 in Los Banos against Pacheco and stay on the road Wednesday, Sept. 3 to open the season against Lodi High.