After splitting the first two sets Wednesday night and battling to a standstill midway through the third, Oakdale closed the third game on a 14-6 run and then jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the fourth and final game as the Mustangs downed host East Union 26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 25-13 in Valley Oak League girls volleyball action at Dalben Center.
“Our communication started to lack,” Lancers coach Chelsea Herrera said of her team in that pivotal third set. “We had kind of a letdown and you can’t give Oakdale that cushion.
“Once they go on a run you have to stop them and we didn’t and we lost our momentum.”
Sophia Guzman (seven kills) hit a punishing spike that was too hot for Oakdale (2-1 VOL, 3-1 overall) to handle to give East Union (0-2, 1-6) the 25-22 second-set win. Meritiana Luani (23 digs, two kills) had one of her four aces in the middle of a 9-3 start for the Lancers in the third set, but unfortunately for East Union the Mustangs caught up with the Lancers at 11-11 and then pulled away from then on.
“Luani’s passing was outstanding and Sophia Guzman did a good job of hitting on the outside,” Herrera said.
The Lancers did have some pinpoint serving with Makayla Viri (nine assists, two kills) adding three aces, Valerie Ochoa (three kills) two aces, and Isabel Ugalino (six assists, kill) and Bella Israel (kill) an ace apiece. Tegan Kann had eight digs, Sophia Guzman seven and Katrina Pacheco three. Donnese Payne (two blocks), Mariela Navarro (assist) and Elizabeth Johnson chipped in a kill apiece.
Beset by COVID-19 issues, this was Oakdale’s first game as a complete squad this season.
“At that point, they came together, focused as a team and pulled through,” Mustangs coach Kaitlin Burke said of her team’s third-set turnaround. “The first couple of sets we had problems connecting. A lot of our girls have been gone on quarantine and this was our first game back as a full team.
“It took a while for the connection to actually get there. During that fourth set the connection was finally made.”
Oakdale 2, East Union 1
The Mustangs battled back to win the final two sets.
Giselle Hamilton controlled the passing for the Lancers and Jatziry Garcia (five service points, kill) played an aggressive game.
East Union’s Valerie Lugo tallied 10 service points with Marcella Carrenza dishing out seven assists and Giselle Velazquez added five kills.
Oakdale 2, East Union 0
Katelyn Trevino tallied five kills for the Lancers in their 14-25, 17-25 loss.
Laura Montanez (assist) had five aces for East Union with Alexandra Maldonado getting two aces and Carolyn Johnson (five assists, kill), Jaelynn Ballou (two kills), Genesis Rodriguez (assist, kill) and Jada Stevens had one ace apiece.