After five matches and neck-and-neck rallies, the Madera South boys volleyball team was unable to continue its championship aspirations after a tough 3-2 Div. I semifinal loss to the the Buchanan-Clovis Bears.
Led by Rigo Pineda, Carlos Hernandez and Javier Gil, the third-seeded Stallions battled with the second-seeded Bears down to the wire, coming back from a game down and nearly sealing the victory in the fifth final game.
The Stallions opened the matchup with a close 25-23 victory in the first set before the Bears outlasted the Stallions in the second game to tie up the match at one after a thrilling 27-25 contest.
The gym began to heat up after the teams squared everything up.
Buchanan started the third set on a 4-1 run, however the Stallions ended the run after the Bear serve went out of bounds.
Abraham Alapizco outjumped his blocker to make it three in a row for the Stallions, tying the game at four.
After the Bears scored on a powerful kill, Carlos Hernandez stepped up and delivered an accurate hit to win the point and the lead.
The Stallions took a two-point lead, 8-6 after Javier Arreguin slammed a ball into his blocker, which ricocheted out of bounds.
The momentum swung towards the end of the set after the Stallions began to pull away courtesy of the Bears consecutive miscues.
The Bears took the lead, 21-20, after consecutive errors culminated into a powerful kill by the front row player for the Bears.
Unfortunately for the Stallions, the Bears were able to hold onto the lead winning the third set, 25-20.
Pineda opened the crucial fourth game with a well-timed kill to put the Stallions ahead.
The Bears and Stallions traded punches throughout the early portion of the game.
The Stallions extended their lead to 14-12 after a powerful kill from Hernandez bounced off the defender for the point.
After a Bear kill, Hernandez came up big again with a devastating kill into the front row of the home team for a 15-13 lead.
Gil pushed the lead to three with a delicate touch over the net, which sent the Stallions faithful crazy.
With the set tied at 19, Hernandez rose above the rest for the kill and the lead.
The game began to heat up after the Stallions scored consecutive points to push the game to set point, 24-22.
The Stallions pushed the game into a deciding fifth game after the Bear player barely missed a potential game-saving kill for a 25-22 victory.
The fifth game started neck and neck after Hernandez scored consecutive points to get the Stallions back in the game.
Hernandez continued his dominance when he brought back some momentum for the Stallions after he rose up for the massive block against the Bears.
Although the Stallions fought throughout the final set, the Bears constant pressure became too much.
The Bears outlasted the Stallions for the 15-10 win after consecutive kills went out of bounds off Madera South blocks.