Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Marcos Ramos (8) and Devonte Orlando reaches up to block Bullard’s Ryan Hovda during Tuesday’s loss.
The ball was falling Madera’s way during the first set against Bullard-Fresno in a County/Metro Athletic Conference match.
The Coyotes jumped out to a 21-9 first set lead and cruised to a 25-18 victory. However, Bullard battled back Tuesday to record two 25-23 set wins and closed the match with a 25-18 win in the third set at Joe Flores Gym.
“The first set went really well,” head coach Rhonda Jefferson said. “We stopped hitting. Our blocking wasn’t quite efficient. We didn’t move our block over and our defense never adjusted. We couldn’t close out that second set.”
The Coyotes’ top three hitters combined for 36 kills, led by Devonte Orlando’s 15 kills.
The Coyotes jumped out to the early lead after a side out kill from Orlando. Brian Garcia then served up seven straight points with two Orlando kills and another from Matthew Brunner for an 11-1 lead.
A Hunter Brown side out kill and two Bullard net violations gave Madera a 16-5 lead.
Another Bullard net call, a hit out of bounds and a Garcia kill opened a 19-6 lead. Madera opened a 21-8 lead before Bullard started to make a comeback. The knights scored six straight points before an Orlando side out kill.
Bullard scored two more points before a Marcos Ramos side out kill.
The Knights added two more with an ace. However, a Bullard service error led to a Madera set point and Garcia recorded a solo block for the game-ending point.
The Coyotes got kills from Orlando, Brunner and a solo block from Ramos to open a 5-3 second set lead.
Tyler Mallonee recorded a solo block and a side out kill while Bullard tied the set. Side out kills from Garcia and Orlando kept the set tied at 13. The Knights then scored six of the next seven points to open a 19-14 lead.
Madera cut the lead to three behind two Orlando kills and a dual block from Orlando and Brown. After a Bullard side out, Orlando put down a kill to get the side out back. He combined with Ramos for a dual block and a Bullard net violation tied the set at 21.
After the Knights got the side out, kills by Ramos and Mallonee gave the Coyotes set point, leading 23-22 after trailing by five points. However, Madera missed its next serve and Bullard closed the match out with an ace for a 25-23 victory.
In the third set, the two teams kept the set close. Kills from Brunner and Mallonee tied the set at seven. A Garcia solo block and kill led to a 10-8 lead. Two more Garcia side out kills opened a 12-10 lead.
Bullard scored four straight points to take a two-point lead. Madera came back with a solo block from Brown, an ace from Brunner and
a Garcia kill to take a 17-16 lead.
However, Bullard tied the set at 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 23 before closing out the set with
two straight points for a 25-23 victory.
Bullard opened the fourth set with an 8-4 lead. Garcia put down a kill to cut the lead to two. A Mallonee kill and an Orlando kill cut Bullard’s lead to 9-8.
After five straight side outs, Bullard scored seven straight points to open an 18-10 lead.
The two teams exchanged 10 straight side outs for a 23-15 Bullard lead.
Madera came back with three straight points behind an Orlando kill and block. But a Madera service error gave the Knights a 25-18 fourth set victory and a 3-1 match win.