After 20 lead changes in the first three sets, Lathrop led wire to wire the last two and came away from Dalben Center with a grueling 19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-15, 15-6 win over East Union in Valley Oak League volleyball action.
“I think to win in five sets takes two things: It takes being in good shape, both mentally and physically, and you have to perform and be composed,” Spartans coach Heather Anderson said. “Both have been focuses for us in practice — performing in high pressure situations and running hard so we can be physically ready for this moment.”
With Lathrop (5-3 VOL, 6-6 overall) pulling away in the fifth set, Spartans libero Krystal Tempra kept the Lancers (1-7, 2-11) from snagging the momentum when she fielded a screaming shot from East Union freshman phenom Savannah LeBarre (24 digs, 14 kills, two aces) and kept it in play for Lathrop to get the point and surge out to a 9-3 lead.
“A lot of emotions were running through me,” Tempra said. “She (LeBarre) is good and I thought I was going to mess up.
“It was coming at me and I wasn’t ready, but I still got the ball off of the body. I got it done.”
Jaidyn Valencia had the play of the night for the Lancers during the final point of the third set. With East Union leading 25-24 in a set that had been tied 10 times, Lathrop appeared to be tying it for the 11th time when Valencia somehow got her foot on the ball to prevent the point for the Spartans and allowed East Union to recover for the 26-24 win.
“I’ve played soccer my whole life,” Valencia said. “When I know that it is needed, I bring out my foot.”
Harjass Kaur helped keep the Lancers off balance with eight aces.
“I just look for open spots,” Kaur said. “And I tried to serve it to the weak spots as much as possible.”
With Kaur delivering from the service line, Jahsita Fa’ali was leading the attack from the front line for Lathrop with 10 kills, eight digs and two aces.
“I was nervous,” Fa’alii said. “But after I got that first point I got some confidence and got a little more with each point.”
Karina Chavez added 20 assists and 17 digs for the Spartans. Malia Akers had six kills and five blocks, and Myani Thornton had 12 digs, eight kills and four aces.
Kiana Day smashed 15 kills with three aces for the Lancers, Angela Mercado added 22 assists and Ragan Fowzer had five blocks and an ace.
“The girls came out ready to play,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “A few factors swayed a couple of points here and there and that kind of ruined our momentum.
“We got the momentum back but we just couldn’t close the deal.”
East Union 2, Lathrop 0
Miekayla Surnip and Melissa Scogna were aggressive in the net for the Lancers in their 25-18, 25-16 win.
East Union’s Samantha Snyder set well.
Rylie Asuncion had three blocks for the Spartans. Hailey Hunter added three kills and Neomi Chavez had two kills.
East Union 2, Lathrop 0
The Lancers eked out a 25-20 first-set win before dominating the second 25-10.
Danielle James had seven assists and two kills for East Union. Nikki Blair added five aces and four kills and Isabella Price had three aces and three kills.
Crispa Ballesteros (three assists) and Kemya Barnett had two aces apiece for the Spartans.