LATHROP — Lathrop High’s volleyball team got swept by Edison and fell to 1-4 in nonleague play Thursday, but the Spartans had little reason to feel discouraged.
First-year coach Diana Kimbrough certainly did not.
That’s because her squad made the Vikings, who have qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs four of the last five years, work for their win. Lathrop appeared down and out in every set but battled back each time and threatened to steal them. The Spartans lost by scores of 22-25, 24-26, 23-25.
“They’ve consistently showed that effort,” Kimbrough said. “Either way, they’re putting up a fight. We need to work on starting as strongly as we finish, but overall they did an excellent job as far as I’m concerned.”
While every Spartan on the court did their part in keeping the match competitive, the anchor was middle blocker Jocelyn Aranda. She is the one player on Lathrop’s team who could match Edison’s height, and she was able to affect the match in a variety of ways when she took her turn at the net.
Aranda made her presence felt early. With Lathrop down 13-18 in the first game, she was instrumental in helping the team tie it at 21 at one point. During one four-point stretch, she sandwiched a pair of blocks with two kills to spark the Spartans.
She came through again in Game 2, when Edison opened with a 6-0 lead. Aranda took advantage of a lazy free ball and put it away for a kill and Lathrop’s first point of the set. The Spartans continued to shift the momentum until they took their largest lead at 19-13 on Monica Brambila’s ace.
“(Aranda) has played club ball. She anticipates and has that added experience to lead the team on the court,” Kimbrough said. “When she’s on her game and dominating on the front row her teammates respond to it. They feel that vibe, too, but her achievements are the team’s achievements. It’s not a matter of, ‘I did it,’ with her, it’s ‘We’ve got this.’”
They almost had the second set, but the Vikings were able to come all the way back thanks to some clutch serving from Victoria Peralez and Mariela Espino, who each recorded two aces during that run. Melissa Long sealed it with a kill.
Letting the pivotal second game slip away could have taken the wind out of the Spartans, and for a while it appeared that it did. Edison notched the first three points of Game 3 and even mounted a double-digit lead, 15-5.
Lathrop once again made the Vikings sweat out another one. Aranda accounted for four straight Spartan points with three spikes and a heads-up free ball that caught Edison off guard and closed them in, 20-22. Marissa Elliot slapped down a kill to make it 23-24, but an unforced error on Lathrop’s end halted the match.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the progression they’ve made since we started together,” Kimbrough said. “They are working together well as a team and they are trying their hardest. We’ve talked about establishing that team culture and it’s there, now it’s just a matter of moving to the next step.”
Lathrop 2, Edison 0
Lathrop won (25-17, 25-23) behind the efforts of Kim Duenas (14 digs), Jamie Ready (12 assists), Callia Morales (8 kills) and Desiree Mendola (10 service points).
Lathrop 2, Edison 1
Brittney Arwood and Sarah Pacheco were among the Spartans’ standouts in a three-game victory (25-11, 4-25, 15-6).