Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera middle blocker Ali Escheik goes up for a block during a four-set loss to Sanger on Thursday in the County/Metro Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
After a four-set victory over the Clovis North Broncos the week before, the Madera Coyotes boys volleyball team hoped to open the County/Metro Athletic Conference with a victory over the Sanger Apaches.
However, the Apaches recorded back-to-back 25-23 set victories over the inconsistent Coyotes for a 3-1 match win Thursday in Joe Flores Gym.
“We struggled passing today, especially in Set 1,” head coach Rhonda Jefferson said. “Even as bad as we struggled, we lost Set 3 and Set 4 by two points.”
The Coyotes, who dominated the Broncos at the net, couldn’t repeat that against the Apaches.
“Our middles were really late,” Jefferson said. “We worked on double blocking the middle and our opposite and the outside never shifted to help out the middle.”
Brian Garcia led the Coyotes with 16 kills to go with 13 assists and 14 digs. Marcos Ramos put down eight digs and Hunter Brown added six.
In addition to having trouble passing and blocking, the Coyotes also missed 12 serves.
Four Sanger errors helped the Coyotes stay in the first set, but the Apaches opened an 11-6 lead. Back-to-back kills from Garcia cut the lead to two.
The teams exchanged side outs until a dual block from Chandler Fowler and Garcia cut the Sanger lead to one. A Sanger service error and a Sanger out of bounds hit tied the set at 19.
However, Sanger got the side out and scored five straight points for a 25-19 win.
In the second set, the Coyotes got two kills from Garcia to open a 6-4 lead. A Brown and Ali Escheik dual block and two Seth Valencia aces opened Madera’s lead to 11-5.
After side out kills from Brown and Garcia, Charlie Hernandez served up two points for a 16-8 lead.
The Apaches cut the lead to four before a Ramos side out kill. Despite a side out kill from Garcia, Sanger cut the lead to two. Garcia put down back-to-back kills and the Coyotes opened a
Garcia recorded a solo block and Brown put down a kill to get to set point, leading 24-18. After a Madera service error, the Apaches scored four more points to cut the lead to one.
Ramos closed the set for the Coyotes putting down a kill off the Sanger blocker’s hands for a 25-23 win.
Sanger opened the third set with a 6-2 lead and kept the lead despite side out kills from Brown, Fowler and Ramos and a dual block from Clemente Flores and Fowler.
A Flores and Escheik dual block helped cut the lead down to two. Jose Hordaz, who led the team with 24 digs, served up a point to cut the lead to one. After a Garcia side out kill, he served up an ace. Ramos put down a kill and combined with Fowler for a dual block to give the Coyotes a
Hordaz recorded his second kill with a dig that found a spot on the Sanger side of the floor. A Garcia solo block gave the Coyotes a 20-18 lead.
The Apaches came back with two points to tie the set and took a 22-21 lead after a Coyote hit out of bounds. Garcia put down a kill, but Sanger scored two straight points to get to set point. Garcia held off set point with a kill, but the Apaches put down a kill of their own for a 25-23 win.
Madera took the early 5-3 lead in the first set behind an Escheik solo block. The teams traded side outs before the Coyotes got three straight — Flores, Garcia and Brown — to tie the set at 14.
Sanger rebounded to take a 21-16 lead. Brown ptu down a tip kill and Fowler recorded a solo block to cut the lead to three. Madera recorded a service error, but Ramos came back with a kill.
Garcia put down a kill and Escheik and Flores combined for a dual block to cut Sangers’s lead to 23-22.
The Apaches got a kill to get to match point, but gave the serve to the Coyotes with a service error. But, the Apaches closed the match with a kill for a 25-23 victory.