Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera South Stallions boys volleyball team celebrates after defeating the Clovis Cougars in four sets Tuesday.
For years, Madera South Stallions boys volleyball head coach Steve Guglielmana has sent his team to play the best of the Central Section.
Although, his teams may come away bruised and battered against the best of the Tri-River Athletic Conference, Guglielmana is determined to show that his team can compete with the best.
Guglielmana’s vision became reality Tuesday with a four-set victory over the Clovis Cougars, who are the top-ranked team in the Central Section, No. 9 in the state and No. 12 in the nation.
“That was huge,” he said. “That was a goal the young men in this program set. They wanted to prove they could be on the same stage of some of the top teams. I think they did that tonight.”
The Stallions opened the season with a sweep of Clovis West, but fell in four games to Clovis North. This time, after Clovis won the third set, the Stallions came back to win the decisive fourth set 34-32 after nine set points, including six match points for the Stallions.
“This time, instead of getting rattled and going back to old habits, they stayed with the game plan and kept trusting in each other,” Guglielmana said. “Things worked out. It could have easily have gone Clovis’ way. Two of those sets were close. It’s good to be lucky. We wanted to go out and not quit. We wanted to play each point all the way through and stay emotionally up.”
Carlos Hernandez led four Stallions with double-figure kills with 20. Javier Arreguin added 16 and Rigo Pineda had 15 to go with 20 digs. Setter Abraham Alapizco distributed the ball all over the court and recorded 62 assists.
“My hats off to our coaching staff who have been working hard,” Guglielmana said. “These kids have put in a lot of work. We’re reaping what we sow.”
The night wasn’t looking good to open the match when the Cougars opened a 7-2 lead on the back of two aces.
However, the Stallions got back on the set behind kills from Arreguin and Gil and a solo block from Hernandez to cut the lead to one.
The Cougars got the lead back to two, but the Stallions took advantage of Clovis hitting three balls out of bounds for a five-point run to take a 15-12 lead.
After a side out kill from Arreguin, Larry Cassarubias put down two kills and combined with Pineda with a dual block to give the Stallions a 19-13 lead after a 9-1 run.
Clovis battled back to cut the lead to one before Gil put down a side out kill.
Pineda added a kill to open a four-point lead. Clovis scored three straight points to cut the Stallions’ lead to one.
Hernandez put down a kill to get to set point and Jael Lopez served up an ace for a 25-22 victory.
The Stallions used the momentum from the first set victory to come out in the second set to take a 5-3 lead behind kills from Arreguin and Pineda and a Cassarubias ace.
Two Hernandez side out kills and a Pineda ace helped the Stallions open a 10-7 lead. Gil put down a side out kill and combined with Cassarubias on a dual block for a 13-9 lead.
Both teams made errors and Madera South kept a 19-18 lead
despite three service errors. Clovis was called for out of rotation and hit two balls out of bounds.
After a Clovis service error, the Cougars hit out of bounds and Arreguin served an ace for a 22-19 lead. Clovis scored three straight points to tie the set at 22.
The Cougars got to set point with a 24-23 lead, but Hernandez put down a kill to tie the set at 24. Off an Alapizco solo block, which popped the ball straight up, Hernandez used it like a set and put down a kill to get to set point leading 25-24.
Clovis got the side out, but Hernandez put down a tip kill off a Clovis block. Hernandez then ended the set with a kill for a 27-25 victory.
The Cougars tried to change the momentum in the third set and opened an 8-4 lead.
The Stallion cut the lead with kills from Hernandez and Gil. However, Clovis added two more points for a 13-8 lead.
However, the Stallions got a kill from Pineda and a dual block from Cassarubias and Gil for a four-point run to tie the set at 14.
After five straight side out, the Stallions got kills from Gil and Arreguin to tie the set at 18. However, Clovis closed the set by scoring seven of the set’s final nine points for a
Madera South took the momentum from Clovis in the fourth set by taking a 7-1 lead after a solo block from Cassarubias and kills from Pineda and Cassarubias. Pineda put down back-to-back kills for a 9-4 lead.
The two teams started to exchange kills. Pineda put down two side out kills, Arreguin put down three and Hernandez and Gil put down one each while Madera South led 16-13.
The Cougars started to claw back and tied the set at 16 and took the lead, 19-17.
Hernandez put down a side out kill and Arreguin put down another kill to tie the set at 19. Two more side out kills from Arreguin kept the set tied.
The Cougars took a two-point lead with an ace. However, Madera South came back with kills from Arreguin and Pineda to tie the set at 23.
Clovis took the lead with a side out kill and faced set point. Gil put down a kill to tie the set at 24. Clovis was called for going under the net and Madera South had match point leading 25-24.
The two teams exchanged seven straight side outs, all kills. The Cougars added a kill while serving for set point, leading 29-28. Arreguin put down back-to-back side out kills to keep the set going.
Gil put down kill with Arreguin serving for a 31-30 Madera South lead and match point.
Clovis got back-to-back side out kills and Pineda responded with back-to-back side out kills to give the Stallions match point, leading 33-32.
Gil sent a serve to the Clovis back line and the ball went off the fingertips of a Clovis defender and went backwards. The ball fell harmlessly to the court and the Stallions recorded a 34-32 fourth set win that also won the match.