The final play of the third set epitomized how the Madera South Stallions girls volleyball team won its season opener against the Sunnyside Wildcats.
The Stallions lost the first set, but battled back to win the next three and take the match going away, with a 25-11 fourth set victory.
“We got the momentum,” head coach Travis McEowen said. “We went to a different formation and found a tempo and rhythm that wasn’t very easy to stop. We played well all the way.”
Trailing 24-21 in the third set, Edison served to the Stallions. The Stallions shanked the serve and the ball went towards the Stallions bench. Aleecia Rosel ran to the bench, reached over to save the ball.
The ball went towards the net and Jacky Granados reached out and bumped the ball at a hard angle with her back to the net. The ball found its way over the net and into an open spot on the Sunnyside end of the court for the final point to give Madera South a 25-21 win.
“We had a bunch of hustle plays,” McEowen said. “That one stuck out because it was the set winner. It’s something that we’ve been working on. They’ve had consequences in practice the last four or five days if someone doesn’t get on the ground or pop up a ball high enough to get a play on. We did everything we worked on and it was great to see the coachability of the players.”
The top three Stallions hitters combined for 29 kills, led by sophomore Destiny Perez. She had five of her team-leading 12 kills in the match-clinching fourth set.
“She was definitely hungry. She was vocal and made it known she wanted the ball. She got it and put it away.”
Even with the win, the Stallions missed 13 serves, 12 in the first three set.
“We definitely had our ups and downs,” McEowen said. “They are starting to gel together. They are finding their mix and chemistry. Once they get that going, it’s like a light switch turning them on.”
The Wildcats lost the first set 25-19, but the Stallions battled back to win the second set 25-22 to tie the match. The Stallions pulled out a tough 25-21 victory in the third set.
Madera South closed the match with a 25-11 win in the fourth set.
The Stallions got off to a good start behind a kill from freshman Arelis Chavez and an ace from Alejandra Barranco for a 6-2 lead.
The Wildcats battled back to take an 8-7 lead and extended the lead to 14-11.
Side out kills by Perez and two more kills from Alvarado tied the set at 15. A Taylor Rogers kill and a Tresuri Thomas kill tied the set at 17. However, Sunnyside scored two straight points to take a two-point lead and closed the set with four straight points for a 25-19 victory.
In the second set, Chavez, again, recorded the first kill. Two Sunnyside out of bounds hits led to a 6-2 lead.
An Alvarado side out kill and a Ruth Castillo ace led to a 9-4 Stallions lead. Another Alvarado kill led to an 11-6 lead. Sunnyside cut the lead to three before a Perez kill got the lead back to four. Sunnyside cut the lead down to two, but side out kills from Chavez and Alvarado kept the Stallions in the lead.
After five straight side outs, Sunnyside tied the set at 20. Rosel recorded a solo block for the side out. Perez put down a kill and Granados recorded an ace to get to set point. Sunnyside got the side out and added a point before Rosel closed the set with a kill and a 25-22 victory.
The two teams opened the second set tied at six before the Stallions went on a five-point run. Alvarado started the run with a side out kill. Rosel added a kill and Rogers put down two in the run.
After a trade in side outs, Rosel put down another kill and Rogers recorded an ace for a 14-7 lead.
Sunnyside eventually cut the lead down to one before a Rogers side out kill and an Oliva Molina ace got the lead back to three.
Rosel put down a side out kill and Perez added another to help open a 23-18 lead. Sunnyside added two points before hitting into the net to give Madera South set point to set the tone for Granados’ set-ending kill.
Both teams battled close to open the fourth set, tied at six. From there, though, Madera South outscored Sunnyside 19-5 for match win. Rosel put down a side out kill and added another while Perez put down another kill for a 9-6 lead.
After another trade in side outs, Granados served up seven straight points. Perez had three kills in the run while Granados added an ace off the net and Rosel put down a kill for a 17-7 lead.
Another trade in side outs led to a Martha Martinez ace in a three-point run for a 21-8 lead.
Sunnyside added three points before Perez put down a side out kill. With Alexis Ayala serving, Rogers put down a tip kill, Alvarado added another kill and Ayala closed the match with an ace for the win.