LATHROP — Expectations have changed for Lathrop under second-year head coach Heather Anderson.
“It’s weird to have expectations at all,” she said.
These aren’t the Spartans of old. They’re in third place with another match to go in the first half of Valley Oak League play after waxing rival Weston Ranch 25-18, 25-12, 25-18 on Wednesday. Lathrop (4-2, 5-5 overall) is already a win away from matching the program’s best win total in league, set last year, and Anderson said it’s a product of her players’ hard work. A top-three finish in league would guarantee the Spartans a first-ever postseason appearance.
“It has been a grind,” Anderson said, adding that her players meet for practice Monday mornings before school and take extra time to review film. “We’re finally starting to see some of the payoff. We’re trying to overcome that reputation (of losing). We’re not happy with moral victories anymore.”
Anderson said the latest victory was a “shared effort,” with nine different players contributing a kill. Sophomore Jahsita Fa’alii and Avleen Kaur led the way with eight kills apiece, while Juliana Denning and Myani Thornton each spiked five. Joselyn Hurtado anchored the defense with 11 digs, setter Karina Chavez contributed seven to go with 30 assists and Jarjass Kaur picked up five digs.
It gets tougher for the Spartans, who head to Oakdale next Monday to face the reigning VOL champion.
Weston Ranch, led by Amaya Finley’s eight kills and Nayeli Moreno’s 12 assists, will host Kimball.
Weston Ranch 0
LATHROP — Nicole Vasconcelos led the attack from the setter position, while Hailey Hunter provided solid back-row play to propel Lathrop to its first league win, 25-20, 25-11.
Weston Ranch 1
LATHROP — The Spartans notched their first VOL victory with a nail-biting 25-20, 25-27, 15-8 win.
Ke’Mya Barnett recorded six kills and four aces. Crispa Ballesteros dished out 10 assists and served four aces. Ericka Menchaca racked up six aces and two kills. Desiree Ambatali contributed 10 digs and two kills.