Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera setter Brian Garcia starts the offense for the Coyotes during the second set of their three set sweep over Madera South on Thursday in Joe Flores Gym.
After confidence-building four-set victories over Bullard-Fresno and Edison-Fresno, the Madera Coyotes boys volleyball team was looking to close out the season with a win over rivals Madera South and finish the regular season above .500.
Consider the task done with a three-set sweep over the Stallions, 25-21, 25-22, 25-21, during Madera’s Senior Night in front of a playoff-atmosphere crowd.
“It was the most intense game we’ve had all season,” head coach Rhonda Jefferson said. “It was senior night. The seniors showed heart and they weren’t going down without a fight.”
Senior Brian Garcia led the Coyotes with 11 kills to go with 23 assists and nine digs. Senior Marcos Ramos added 11 kills and junior Hunter Brown also had 11 kills.
“We did a good job of getting ahead,” Jefferson said. “We let them get back in, but we were able to push late.”
Jared Guglielmana and Brian Zaragoza led the Stallions with nine kills each on a night where they were without outside hitter Christian Sylvia and middle blocker Dallas Hansen.
“Our defense was better tonight,” Jefferson said. “That’s what we didn’t’ do the first game. They like to hit angle so we shifted around.”
The Coyotes begin defense of its 2017 Div. II Valley Championship as the No. 2 seed in Thursday’s Central section playoffs. They open at home against No. 7 McLane-Fresno.
Madera South received the No. 8 seed in Div. I and will face top seed Buchanan-Clovis.
Madera South’s Isaiah Tyler and Guglielmana combined on a dual block and he put down a kill for an early lead in the first set.
After a Garcia kill, Chandler Fowler and senior Ali Escheik combined on a dual block for the Coyotes to tie the set at six.
Madera South got a dual block from Adrian Alvarez and Riley Maciel for the side out. Zaragoza put down a kill to get the lead to 8-6.
Brown put down two kill and Fowler had another to give the Coyotes a 10-9 lead. Ramos and Garcia put down side out kill to keep the one-point lead. A Zaragoza kill tied the set at 16.
Garcia put down a kill and Fowler and Brown combined on a dual block for a two-point plead before a Guglielmana kill. A Ramos side out kill gave the Coyotes a 20-19 lead.
Ramos recorded a solo block and a kill while Brown served up two aces to get to set point. Madera South’s Maciel recorded a solo block and Ruben Jaimez put down a kill to hold off set point. However, a missed Stallions’ serve gave the Coyotes the first set, 25-21.
The Stallions jumped to an 8-5 lead in second set behind a Zaragoza kill. Madera came back with four straight points with two kills from Garcia and another from Brown to take a 9-8 lead.
After a bit of controversy, the Coyotes added two more points for a three-point lead. Garcia put down a side out kill and served up an ace. Brown added a kill to increase the lead to five.
A Maciel and Guglielmana dual block and a Guglielmana ace cut Madera’s lead to 16-13.
Escheik put down a kill and Garcia added another off the block for a five-point lead.
Madera South battled back with five straight points to tie the set. In the run, Alvarez and Zaragoza put down kills and Jose Villafan served up an ace.
Madera’s Alex Olvera-Gill got the side out, but Zaragoza got the side out kill for the Stallions. After a Garcia side out kill, Jose Hordaz served up a point and Brown put down a kill for a 22-19 lead.
The teams exchanged four straight side outs with Brown putting down a kill to get to set point leading 24-21. After Madera South got the side out, Ramos put down a kill for a 25-22 Coyotes victory.
In the third set, Zaragoza served up an ace to help the Stallions to the early lead. The Coyotes scored three straight points, including one when Madera South head coach Steve Guglielmana received a red card, for a 7-5 lead.
Villafan served up two points after a Maciel kill. Zaragoza put down a kill to tie the set at nine.
After nine straight side outs, the Coyotes put together a run after a Ramos kill. Escheik and Ramos put down kills for a 16-13 lead.
However, Madera South got the side out and got solo blocks from Jaimez and Maciel to tie the set at 16.
Ramos put down a side out kill and the Coyotes took control of the game. Ribhi Abdallah served up three aces in a five-point run for a 21-16 lead.
Madera battled back with three straight points before missing a serve. Zaragoza gave the Stallions the side out with a kill, but the Stallions gave the serve right back with a missed serve.
Garcia put down his 11th kill of the match to get to match point. However, a missed serve gave the Stallions a point. The Coyotes closed the match with a kill from Ramos for the 25-21 victory.