Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Lilly Ascencio rises up to put down one of her five kills during a first round Div. II Central Section playoff victory over the Hoover Patriots.
The Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team continued their unblemished run after they swept away the Hoover Patriots to open up the first round of the Div. II Central Section playoffs.
“We played Hoover at the beginning of the season so we had seen them before,” said head coach Meghan Haas, who celebrated her birthday after the game. “But they were a lot better than we had seen the first time. We knew we had to come out and kind of play our game and we were hoping to take care of business.”
The Coyotes used a combination of skill, power and a little birthday magic to beat the visiting Patriots in three straight sets 25-14, 25-9, and 25-10 to record the win after 10 straight to capture the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
After wrapping up the first two sets with ease, the Coyotes, led by, Katelyn Siegl, dominated the final set.
The playoff atmosphere was evident after both sides battled back and forth for a 6-6 tie in the second set. Isabella Saucedo broke the deadlock 7-6, with a hit that landed accurately in the opponent area.
Alicia Velasco delivered a powerful kill that flew past two Patriot players for the point. The Patriots charged back, however, with two consecutive points to make the lead 9-8.
The Coyotes responded with an 8-4 run, punctuated by Hallie Page, who stepped up to the net and crushed a powerful kill to push the lead to nine.
The Coyotes relied on the Patriots miscues to close out the set, 25-14.
The second set opened up with the Coyotes on the right foot once again. Lilly Acsensio sent in an ace on her first serve, foreshadowing a strong performance for the team.
The action picked up midway through the match after Siegl picked up a tough point after she leapt from the front row for the kill.
Along with miscues by the Patriots, the Coyotes frontline pounced on weak shots by the Patriots.
Saucedo stepped up big for her team and blocked a tough shot at the net. She anticipated the shot and rose over net for the point, which pushed the lead to 11, 20-9. The Coyotes rode a wave of momentum for five straight points.
The Patriots battled, but couldn’t keep up with the Coyotes down the stretch. Siegl continued her hot streak with a powerful shot that deflected out of bounds.
The Coyotes wrapped up the second set 25-9.
The final set opened up in favor of the home team after Lauren Grewal sent a powerful kill over the net. The Coyotes rode that to a strong start, 3-0. Siegl pushed the lead, 4-0 after she delicately tapped the ball into an open area on the court. Her patience and vision allowed her to think one step ahead.
The Coyotes led 8-2 after Page tipped the ball over the net for a point after the ball ricocheted off two players and out of bounds.
She later added a kill to take an 11-2 lead.
The Coyotes’ lead ballooned to 10 after Saucedo sent a punishing strike into the heart of the Patriot area. The Coyotes took an 18-8 lead and they never looked back.
The Patriots miscommunication gave the Coyotes free points, which led to a 20-8 lead.
Madera closed out the final set 25-10.
The Coyotes look to their next playoff matchup against Tehachapi, but the focus won’t change for the team.
“We are going to prepare ourselves to play our game and hopefully not change too much when we play other teams,” Haas said. “We have all the right things, it’s just a matter of putting it all together on the same night.”