Madera’s Alyssa Burton (16) and Lilly Ascencio (1) goes up for a dual block in Thursday’s loss to Clovis East. (Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune)
The Madera Coyote girls volleyball team battled one of the top teams in the Central Section in two of its first three sets, but couldn’t keep up in a sweep in Joe Flores Gym.
The Coyotes trailed early in the first set, but battled back to make it respectful against the Clovis East Timberwolves, who won the Div. I Valley Championship last season. Madera also kept pace in the first set before dropping the third set 25-11 Thursday evening.
“We made it really hard on ourselves with our passing and serve receive,” head coach Meghan Haas said. “It’s kind of been the story of our season. With a team like that you can’t get behind 8-1 and try to come back to win.”
In the three-set loss, the Coyotes only recorded 10 kills, including five from middle blocker Alyssa Burton.
“They (Clovis East) take you out of your game,” Haas said. “We had different kids playing different positions to give them different looks and try to get balls passed to the setter. It was a real struggle.”
In the first set, Clovis East scored 13 of the match’s first 16 points for the early lead. Of Clovis East’s 13 points, eight were scored by a kill and four were scored by an ace. Madera’s points were scored off a Katelyn Siegl kill and a Rozlyn Holmes kill.
The Coyotes took advantage of two Clovis East hit out of bounds and an ace from Priscilla Torres to score four points. Clovis East got the side out, but Madera got an ace from Lilly Ascencio for a 16-7 Clovis East lead.
After a Clovis East service error, Hallie Page recorded a block and Alicia Velasco served an ace to cut the lead to 19-15. The Timerwolves scored three of the next four points to open the lead to seven before a Burton kill. However, a service error and a Madera hit out of bounds ended the first set, 25-17.
“I would like to see more fight,” Haas said. “If you would have seen practice the other day, they were ready to rip each other’s heads off. They were competing and feisty. I haven’t seen that translate to the floor. It’s frustrating.”
In the second set, Clovis East took advantage of Madera errors to take a 7-4 lead. Madera earned points off a Sierra Lancaster ace, a side out kill from Lauren Lund and a solo block from Holmes.
Holmes went behind the line and got the Coyotes back into the game, serving up four points to give the Coyotes an 8-7 lead. In the run, Page recorded a block and Holmes served up an ace.
Clovis East came right back with five kills in its next seven points for a 14-8 lead.
The two teams exchanged five straight side outs before Lauren Grewal served an ace. A Clovis East service error and a double contact violation cut the Timberwolves’ lead to 17-14. However, a service error and a kill opened the lead back to five.
Madera committed two straight service errors as the Timberwolves opened a 23-17 lead. The Coyotes scored two points, but the Timberwolves scored the final two points of the set for a 25-18 win.
In the third set, the Timberwolves took control early and didn’t let up. They scored five of the first six, nine of the first 12 and 14 of the first 16 points to open a big lead.
Leading 16-5, the Timberwolves scored five straight points to open the lead to 16 points.
Madera battled behind a kill from Ascencio to score three straight points. Two kills by Burton put them in double figures, but Clovis East closed the match with a kill and a 25-11 victory in the third set.
Madera continues play today in the Madera Classic Varsity Tournament.