Wendy Alexander/the Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Hannah Chase puts down one of her game-high 11 kills in a three-set loss to Yosemite on Tuesday.
Throughout any given season, teams have their ups and downs and the Liberty Hawks girls volleyball team is no exception.
After beginning the season 22-0 and heading into Tuesday’s match with Yosemite, the Hawks held a 27-1 record. However, the Hawks were without all-around player Zoey Richey due to a knee injury and libero Tayler Sefton for disciplinary reasons.
Sefton entered Tuesday’s match in the second and third set, but the Yosemite-Oakhurst Badgers gave the Hawks a 3-0 defeat to sweep the season series and take the upper-hand in the North Sequoia League.
“I don’t know what it is against Yosemite,” head coach Brandon St. Lucia said. “Our girls laid an egg. They didn’t want to play today. They wanted nothing to do with Yosemite tonight. We knew they had a big block. We knew they were going to swing away and were scrappy getting a lot of balls up. We practiced for it, prepared for it, but weren’t ready to play. Our girls were scared and it showed.”
In a must-win Thursday match against Sierra-Tollhouse for a chance at a NSL title, the Hawks lost in four sets in Tollhouse.
“Tuesday was a must win for us because Sierra already took down Yosemite,” St. Lucia said Tuesday. “It’s do or die if we want league.”
The Hawks will try to regroup and get ready for a home match Tuesday against Kerman and senior night Thursday against Chowchilla.
In the first set, Yosemite took a 9-6 lead before an Olivia Kaczmarek kill. However, Yosemite extended its lead to 16-10 and 22-13 after an ace.
The Hawks scored two points with Madie Devine serving, but Yosemite closed out the set with three straight points for a 25-16 victory. Liberty didn’t have a kill when they had serve in the set and recorded eight kills.
Yosemite jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the second set. However, a Hannah Chase kill and a Tayler Sefton ace cut the lead to one. Yosemite scored three straight points for a 10-6 lead, but the Hawks got kills from Chase, who had 11 in the match, and Kaczmarek to cut the lead to 12-11.
The Badgers went on runs of four and five to jump out to a 21-13 lead and closed the set scoring four of the next six points for the 25-15 victory.
Things started off bleak, again, for the Hawks in the third set, falling behind 9-1.
With Karsyn Woods serving, Tiffany Herron put down a kill and Woods served an ace in a five-point run to cut the Badgers’ lead to 9-7.
Yosemite extended the lead to four, but side out kills from Chase and another from Kaczmarek cut the lead to two. Yosemite took a 16-11 lead before back-to-back service errors gave the Hawks the serve. Devine served up three points, including a kill from Woods to cut the lead to 16-15.
The teams exchanged 10 straight side outs and the Badgers took a 23-19 lead and closed the match with three straight points for a 25-19 victory.