Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Rigo Pineda recorded a team high 14 kills to help the Stallions defeat the Sanger Apaches in four sets.
SANGER — In a battle for a chance at the County/Metro Athletic Conference championship, the Madera South Stallions completed a season sweep of the Sanger Apaches to clinch at least a share of the championship.
The Stallions used a steady diet of Rigo Pineda, Javier Arreguin and Carlos Hernandez to defeat the Apaches 3-1. The trio combined for 40 kills.
The Stallions (7-1 CMAC) are one game ahead of Sanger and Bullard-Fresno with two matches to play. The Stallions faced 0-6 San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Tuesday and host Madera on senior night Thursday.
“We’re not done,” head coach Steve Guglielmana said. “Madera High is going to come out tough. It’s going to be a tough match.”
However, this was the year Guglielmana and this year’s senior group was looking forward to. Guglielmana didn’t have a senior on last year’s squad and knew this was the group to get the league championship.
“It’s something we’ve been preparing for,” he said. “If we had a strong class every year, it would be better. These guys put in a lot of work. It’s not easy to do in this sport, in this town in the CMAC. We get to put another banner on the wall. That’s our goal. We want to get to the championship game for valley. In order to do that, I told them we have to win league to even think about the next one.”
Four-year starter Rigo Pineda, who had the kill to get Madera South to match point said it took a lot of work to get to this point.
“We’ve wanted this since we were freshmen,” he said. “We wanted to set the standard for our senior year. We finally made it with all the work we did. It feels so great. It’s amazing. We’ve been together and finally got that win.”
“If you saw match point and saw the celebration, you would see how good it feels,” Guglielmana said.
After winning the first set 25-23, the Stallions were outscored 7-3 in the final 10 points of the second set in a 25-19 loss.
However, Madera South rebounded in the second set with both teams exchanging pounding kills.
Madera South took its first lead of the set after a side out kill from Arreguin and a Larry Casarubias kill. The Stallions extended the lead to three after a Javier Gil kill and a Hernandez kill.
Sanger came right back to score six straight points to open a 14-11 lead.
Madera South kept battling back behind side out kills by Arreguin and Casarubias and a solo block by Gil.
The Stallions used a four-point run of their own to reclaim the lead with Arreguin serving. Gil put down a kill and combined with Casarubias for a block and a
From there, the teams exchanged six straight side outs before Sanger tied the score at 22. Arreguin found the back corner for a kill, but Sanger came back to tie the set at 23. The Apaches hit out of bounds to give Madera South set point.
Abraham Alapizco’s serve went off the Sanger libero’s hands and out of bounds for the 25-23 set victory.
Leading 2-1, the Stallions took an early lead behind a Hernandez kill.
Sanger battled back and held a 10-5 lead after a four-point run. However, Madera South came back with a five-point run of its own to tie the score. With Alapizco serving, Gill recorded a kill and a solo block in the run.
A Pineda kill gave the Stallions a 12-11 lead and a Gil kill opened the lead to two. Hernandez helped with a solo block after libero Jael Lopez saved the possession with a dig by the Stallions’ bench.
After Sanger tied the fourth set at 14, Madera South got a side out kill from Pineda and a dual block from Arreguin and Hernandez to open a two-point lead.
An Alapizco solo block and an Arreguin kill opened the lead to three, but Sanger tied the set at 19.
Side out kills from Arreguin, Pineda and Gil kept the Stallions in the lead.
A Sanger service error gave the Stallions a
23-22 lead. Pineda went up for a kill to get to match point. Gil served up an ace for match point and a 25-22 victory.