Madera South setter Kyle Edelbacher goes up for a block attempt against Hoover’s Amythest Harper during Tuesday’s loss. (Wendy Alexander)
After two matches in the Madera South gym, the Madera South Stallions showed improvement, but couldn’t pull out a set win against Hoover-Fresno and Golden West-Visalia.
The Stallions lost to the Hoover Patriots in three sets Tuesday, 25-19, 25-17, 25-19. Despite marked improvement, the Stallions dropped three tough sets Thursday to the Golden West Trailblazers, 25-21, 25-23, 25-16.
“We played much better Thursday,” first-year head coach Travis McEowen said. “We opened up every spot and they all had to fight for a position. It was all a competition and they brought that out tonight.”
Another issue for the Stallions was the lack of communication, not only on the court, but from the bench, as well.
“We also forced them to talk,” McEowen said. “There was a little consequence in practice if they didn’t talk. I think they had a little more fun today. They were a little more loose in their second home game. They were a little more at ease.”
Three-year setter Kylie Edelbacher is helping make McEowen’s first year a little easier. She recorded 42 assists over the two matches.
“Kylie definitely makes our passing look much better than it really is,” McEowen said. “She’s got a brain on her. She knows who to set at the right time. We’re still working on her to make the next step to find the one-on-one situations and force the hitters to put the ball down.”
Libero Alejandra Barranco won the job during Wednesday’s practice and more than held her own. She tied for the team lead with 10 digs Thursday night with Aleecia Rosel.
“Alejandra played lights out as well,” McEowen said. “She dug everything. We had the open competition for the libero jersey. She stuck out and played well.”
Against the Trailblazers, the Stallions had their chances to win the first two sets. Behind an Edelbacher ace and a Lanaye Brewer kill, Madera South led 10-8. Golden West came back with three straight points before Barranco recorded the first of her four kills with a hit off a dig.
After a Destiny Lopez kill, Brewer served a point to tie the set at 13. However, Golden West scored three straight points to take a 16-13 lead. Madera South got another kill from Barranco to take an 18-17 lead.
Golden West took the lead with an ace, but an out-of-bounds hit gave Madera South the side out and tied the set at 20. Golden West quickly got the side out and scored four straight points to get to set point.
Golden West gave Madera South a point with a service error, but put down a kill for a
The Trailblazers scored four straight points to turn a tie score into a 9-5 lead. Side out kills from Cymone Tyson and Sofia Lopez kept Madera within four.
Barranco served an ace and another point to cut the Blazer lead to one. However, the teams missed three straight serves before the Blazers scored three straight points with an ace for a 17-13 lead.
Another Blazers’ service error gave the Stallions a point. After five straight side outs, including a kill by Lopez, Golden West led by five. Two Blazers’ aces opened a 23-16 lead.
Barranco put down another back row kill for a side out. Lopez served up three straight points, including a Lopez kill to cut the lead to 23-20.
Golden West put down a kill for a side out, but a service error gave Madera South a chance at a comeback. Golden West hit out of bounds and Rosel put down a kill for a 24-23 Golden West lead.
The Blazers closed the set with a kill for the 25-23 win.
The Stallions got side out kills from Barranco, Tyson and Rosel, but trailed 7-4. Ruth Castillo served an ace during a four-point run to take an 8-7 lead.
The teams exchanged missed serves before Rosel served an ace to give Madera South an 11-8 lead.
Golden West served up a pair of aces to tie the set at 12. After a Madera South service error, Golden West added another ace and opened a 15-13 lead.
However, the Trailblazers closed out the match by scoring 10 of the next 13 points for a 25-16 victory.
Madera South continues play today in the Golden Valley invitational in Merced and will next host Firebaugh on Tuesday.
Hoover 3, Madera South 0
The Stallions didn’t have an answer for Hoover’s Amythest Harper, who came up with clutch kills to lead a three-set victory.
Madera got three kills from Rosel and another from Lopez to turn a 12-4 deficit to six points.
However, Hoover scored nine of the next 14 points to get to set point despite another kill from Rosel and a dual block from Taylor Rogers and Tyson.
A Tyson kill and Oliva Molina served up to points to hold off set point. However, Hoover closed the set with a kill off a down ball for a 25-17 win.
Hoover jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the second set behind three aces.
Five Hoover service errors kept Madera South close in a 16-8 lead. The teams exchanged six straight side outs before Brewer served an ace.
Lopez put down a kill off a Hoover overpass. She then served up two aces and Tyson put down a kill for a 20-17 hoover lead. After a side out, Lopez put down a kill and Madera South added another point to cut the lead to two.
However, a Madera South service error led to four straight Hoover points for a 25-19 victory.
Madera South took the early lead in the third set, led by a Rosel ace and three service errors for a 7-5 lead.
Hoover chipped away and took the lead after an ace for a 9-8 lead. Side out kills by Tyson kept Stallions within two. However, two Madera South Service errors gave momentum back to the Patriots.
Hoover scored five straight points to take control of the set for a 19-13 lead. After a trade in side outs, Hoover added an ace to score three straight points for a 23-14 lead.
Kiara Alvarado put down a side out kill and added another to cut the lead to 23-16.
However, a Madera South service error gave the Patriots match point. Tyson held off match point with a kill, but Harper closed the match with a kill for a 25-17 victory.