The Madera Coyote girls volleyball had two chances to steal a match win over Golden Valley-Merced in Joe Flores Gym, but the cougars came back to win the fourth set and take the fifth set for the match win.
Leading 2-1 in the fourth set, the Coyotes had a chance to win the set after a Hallie Page ace at 24-23. Later, an Alyssa Burton kill gave the Coyotes a 27-28 lead, but Golden Valley battled back to eventually take the set 30-28 and they won the deciding fifth set 15-9 for the win.
“We’re still learning how to fight back,” head coach Meghan Haas said. “We had an opportunity to win.”
Golden Valley helped the Coyotes stay in the match with 17 service errors, including seven in the first set in a 25-22 Madera win.
“A couple of times we did some good things,” Haas said. “It’s frustrating to have a team to continually let us back in the game and we didn’t take advantage of those opportunities. There were also a lot of points down the stretch that we missed. We had free balls drop or couldn’t put away an overpass. If we want to compete with higher-level teams, we can’t give free balls back and expect them to make mistakes. They played much better defense than we did. We didn’t come up with too many balls.”
Page led the Coyotes with nine kills and Lilly Ascencio added seven kills.
“We served fine,” Haas said. “We’re kind of struggling to find that one person that will put balls away and to pass and to dig balls. We have Lexi (Carmona) in the back and she did a good job, but she can’t finish. We’re diving for balls, but we’re not connecting the play. We’re not connecting from our dig, to our setter, to our attack. It kind of stops. We play a ball up and look around for someone else to play.”
Carmona led the Coyotes with 14 digs.
Both teams stayed close in the first set with Golden Valley jumping out to three three-point leads despite giving Madera four points with service errors.
After Golden Valley took a 14-9 lead, a service error led to a three-point Coyote run, capped by a Lauren Lund and Alyssa Burton block. Later, Lauren Grewal recorded a solo block; followed by three Page blocks for an 18-16 Coyote lead.
Golden Valley tied the set at 18 before Page put down a kill to get the lead. Alicia Velasco served up three points, including a back corner kill from Sierra Lancaster to extend Madera’s lead to 22-18.
The teams exchanged four straight side outs, including two Golden Valley service errors; the last gave the Coyotes set point. A Cougars’ double-contact violation gave the Coyotes a 25-22 win.
In the second set, Golden Valley jumped out to a 10-7 lead before a Grewal dump kill. The Cougars extended their lead to 16-12 before Priscilla Torres three straight points to cut the lead to two. Velasco served an ace for a 17-16 Golden Valley lead. The Cougars scored two points before Page put down a tip kill and served another point to cut the lead to two.
Golden Valley served an ace to increase its lead to five, but Madera got the side out with a Burton kill. The teams exchanged side outs and Golden Valley won the final point when a Cougars’ overpass found an open spot on the Coyote side of court for a 25-20 win.
In the third set, the Cougars took the early lead, but two Page kills and a Torres ace gave Madera a 7-6 lead.
A service error gave the Coyotes the side out. Lancaster went behind the line and found her groove. She served up eight straight points with four aces to give the Coyotes a 10-point lead. In the run, Page put down a kill and teamed with Katelyn Siegl for a dual block. Siegl also put down a kill.
The Cougars were reeling at that point, but scored four straight points to cut Madera’s lead in half.
The teams exchanged five straight side outs with Madera getting side out kills from Burton and Siegl. Ximena Escobar served an ace for a 21-13 win. A Golden Valley lift violation opened Madera’s lead to 23-15.
Golden Valley hit out of bounds to get Madera to set point. Golden Valley scored four straight points before Lilly Ascencio, who just came into the set, put down the game-ending kill, 25-19.
Grewal started off the fourth set with two aces for an early 3-0 lead. Golden Valley came back to take a 7-8 lead before Grewal tied the set. Carmona served two points for a 10-8 Madera lead.
A kill and ace from Page opened the lead to 13-11 before Golden Valley scored four straight points. Grewal got the side out kill off of the Joe Flores Gym rafters. Two Siegl kills gave Madera a
The two teams stayed within two points of each other until Page put down a kill to cut the Golden Valley lead to 23-22. Page served up an ace and Golden Valley hit out of bounds to get to set point. Golden Valley got the side out and a kill to get to set point.
A service error gave the Coyotes a point. Madera hit out of bounds for a side out to give Golden Valley a second set point. Siegl put down a kill for set point and Burton put down another kill to get Madera to match point, leading 27-26. However, Golden Valley put down two kills for a 28-27 lead.
Ascencio held off set point with a kill, but the Cougars scored the next two points for a 20-28 victory to tie the match.
In the fifth set, kills from Burton and Ascencio helped Madera gain a 4-2 lead.
A Golden Valley ace helped the Cougars re-claim the lead before Ascencio tied the set with a kill.
Golden Valley then scored seven of the next eight points, including three aces, to open a 12-6 lead.
Page put back a Golden Valley hit for a block and Siegl sent a push sent over the net and inside the back line for a point and cut the lead to 12-8.
However, a Madera service error gave Golden Valley the advantage. The Cougars closed out the set scoring three of the final four points for a 15-9 victory and the match win.
Madera plays in the Golden Valley invitational today in Merced before hosting Clovis East on Thursday.