Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Carlos Hernandez blocks a kill attempt by Devonte Orlando during the Stallions’ 3-1 victory to close out the regular season Thursday.
For the first time in the Central Section playoffs, boys volleyball is split into two division and Madera and Madera South are ready for a deep run after the regular season finale for both teams.
The Stallions came away with a 3-1 victory over the Coyotes on Thursday and finished 9-1 in the County/Metro Athletic Conference to capture the championship for the first time and the program’s second league title (2009- North Yosemite League).
“It’s not only a big accomplishment for the team and these guys that have worked so hard,” Madera South head coach Steve Guglielmana said. “It’s a big accomplishment for Madera South because only two other programs have a CMAC title. To be among the top three feels really, really good.”
The Stallions hope for a top four seed in Div. 1 after a very successful pre-league run that included victories over Clovis and Clovis North. The Stallions will open the playoffs Thursday with the site and opponent determined after The Madera Tribune went to press.
“It was almost like the perfect storm,” Guglielmana said. “Every time Madera and Madera South plays, it’s like a playoff match. It was good for them to get into that environment and get ready for next week.”
Meanwhile, the Coyotes head to Div. II and look forward to the top seed with their toughest competition coming from Edison-Fresno and Central-Fresno, two teams Madera defeated in sweeps.
“Going into next week, no one runs a fast, high-paced tempo like Madera South does and they do it well,” Madera head coach Rhonda Jefferson said, “The game might be a little slower, but we’ll be the faster team.”
The Coyotes came away with a victory in the first set and took advantage of Stallions mistakes. However, the Coyotes lost the next three sets.
“We don’t have that killer instinct when we need it,” Jefferson said. “We started tipping instead of hitting. Tonight, our serve receive gave us a tough time. They jump served very well. It made our passing a lot tougher.”
The Coyotes started to take control of the first set after a Brunner kill gave Madera a 7-4 lead. Kills by Devonte Orlando and Brunner opened a 9-4 lead.
Solo blocks from Brian Garcia and Devonte Orlando kept the Coyotes in the lead.
Side out kills from Javier Gil helped the Stallions stay within three. Madera South hit out of bounds after a service error for a 17-13 Coyote lead.
However, the Stallions battled back after a Larry Casarubias side out kill. Abraham Alapizco served up three straight points to tie the set at 18.
Tyler Mallonee put down a side out kill and Garcia added another for a 21-19 lead. Both teams exchanged kills. Madera South got one from Casarubias and Rigo Pineda and Madera got a tip kill from Garcia.
The Stallions got a Hernandez kill and a Gil ace to take a 23-22 lead.
After a service error, Madera South hit out of bounds to give the Coyotes a 24-23 lead. Pineda tied the set at 24, but Madera South hit out of bounds to give Madera the side out and set point.
Garcia closed out the first set with a kill for a 26-24 Coyote victory. Madera also won the first set the first time the two teams played.
“We were trying to do too much,” Guglielmana said “We were trying to hit the ball too hard, block every ball. They just needed to settle down and play the game. It’s because it’s Madera.”
Madera South bounced back to jump out to a 6-2 lead in the second set behind two Gil kills and an ace from Casarubias.
The Coyotes battled to one behind kills from Ali Escheik and Brunner. The Stalllions went on a four-point run behind kills from Gil and Pineda for a 12-7 lead.
After a Coyote service error, Pineda served up a pair of aces to open a 20-11 lead. After a service error, Madera South hit out of bounds twice to cut its lead to six.
Madera South got to set point, leading 24-16, but the Coyotes battled back. Garcia recorded a solo block and Mallonee put down a tip kill to cut the lead to three. Pineda closed the set with a kill on the sixth set point for a 25-21 victory.
“When they want to play, we can get up and keep pushing,” Jefferson said. That’s what we did in game to and that’s how we got back into that game.”
The Stallions kept the pressure on in the third set. Hernandez recorded three kills in the first four points. Orlando helped the Coyotes with two kills while Madera South jumped to an 11-6 lead after kills from Pineda and Gil.
Arreguin served an ace and Pineda and Casarubias combined on a dual block for a 13-6 lead. Side out kills from Casarubias, Gil and Hernandez kept the Stallions in the lead.
Pineda served another ace and Hernandez put down a kill for an 18-9 lead.
The Stallions closed out the set by scoring seven of the final 12 points for a 25-14 victory. Gil put down three side out kills in the final run. Arreguin and Hernandez added another. Casarubias closed the set with a kill for a 25-14 victory.
Madera took a 5-2 lead to open the fourth set behind kills by Mallonee and Orlando.
However, Madera South got a tip kill from Casarubias and another from Gil to take an 8-6 lead.
The Coyotes got a side out and a Garcia solo block to tie the set at 10. The two teams tied at 11 and 12 before Arrreguin put down consecutive kills for a 14-12 lead.
Another Arreguin kill led to a five-point run, highlighted by a Casarubias and Arreguin block and a Gil tip kill.
Garcia put down a kill for the Coyotes to cut the lead to four. However, the Stallions closed the match by scoring six of the next eight points.
Casarubias, Pineda and Hernandez put down kills for the Stallions while Jael Lopez served an ace. Arreguin sent a kill off the block to end the match with a 25-17 victory.