Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Tyler Mallonee sees an open net to put down a kill for the final point of Tuesday’s semifinal match against Roosevelt.
The Madera Coyotes boys volleyball team has been close a number of times, but has never seen a Valley Championship game.
The Coyotes finally saw a championship game Thursday and it was at home in comfy Joe Flores Gym against third-seeded Central-Fresno, a team Madera has already beat twice this year.
The Coyotes headed to the Valley Championship game after a three-set sweep over fourth seeded Roosevelt-Fresno after a change in venues.
“It feels nice to go the championship game,” head coach Rhonda Jefferson said. “I’ve been to the semifinals three times and we finally made it.”
Electrical issues at Madera High School forced the game to be moved to Madera South’s East Gym. While the Stallions were accommodating hosts to the Coyotes, the Coyotes weren’t so kind to the Rough Riders, winning in three sets 25-22, 25-13, 25-21.
“We love playing in Joe Flores Gym,” Jefferson said. “I am glad we had another good venue to play in. Roosevelt put up a tough fight. They had great defense and ball control.”
Brian Garcia led the Coyotes with 15 kills. Devonte Orlando added 12 while Matthew Brunner put down eight kills and Tyler Mallonee had seven.
The Coyotes took a four-point lead after a Brunner side out kill, a Mallonee kill and a Brunner ace. Eight straight side outs, including three kills from Garcia kept the advantage at four.
A Mallonee and Ali Escheik dual block opened the lead to 15-10.
Roosevelt eventually cut the lead to one before the Coyotes scored five straight points with an Orlando kill and a Garcia ace for a 23-17 lead.
The Rough Riders battled back to cut the lead to three, but a Seth Valencia kill gave the Coyotes set point. The Coyotes won the first set after Roosevelt let a ball drop on its own end.
Both teams were close in the second set with Madera leading 8-7. The Coyotes went on a five-point run, starting with a Garcia side out kill. Garcia added a solo block and a tip kill. Mallonee combined with Hunter Brown for a dual block and added another kill.
Roosevelt scored four straight points before a Mallonee side out kill. Valencia served up 10 straight points to get the Coyotes to set point. In the run, Orlando put down two kills and combined with Brown on a dual block. Garcia added a kill and also combined with Brown on another dual block for a 24-11 lead.
Roosevelt scored two straight points before Garcia ended the set with a kill or a 25-13 victory.
The Rough Riders took a 10-7 lead in the third set. A Mallonee side out kill led to a Garcia kill and dual block with Brown to tie the set at 10.
Roosevelt used a five-point run to take a 20-17 lead.
“I told them to get it together during that last time out, in a nice way,” Jefferson said. “We just played tense. They needed relax and take control of the game.”
Orlando stopped the run with a side out kill and served up an ace to cut the lead to one.
After a Rough Riders’ side out, Mallonee put down a side out kill.
The Coyotes then went on a five-point run to close the match with Brunner serving.
Garcia recorded a solo block and put down a kill. He combined with Mallonee on a dual block and added another kill to get to match point. Mallonee ended the match with a kill for a 25-21 victory.