Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Karsyn Woods reaches up to get a hit past the block of Chowchilla’s Sami Easton during Tuesday’s five-set loss to the Tribe.
The Liberty Hawks girls volleyball team lost the first set to the Chowchilla Tribe and the match in the fifth set, but it was nothing new for first-year head coach Grant Clark.
“We’ve been getting off to really poor starts,” he said. “We’ve dropped the first sets in the last three matches. It dug us a little hole. We fought out of it. We’ve been in a fifth-set match with every team in league except for Yosemite. We’ve had some long games.”
The Hawks didn’t look impressive in a 25-15 loss to the Tribe in the first set. They had just six kills in the loss. However, the Hawks came back to win the second set 25-21 and held off the Tribe in the third set, 26-24.
“They are super resilient and super tough,” Clark said. “They are very positive when things go down. We were down a lot of points in the first set, but we fought back.”
Chowchilla bounced back to win the fourth set 25-17 and dominated the fifth set, 15-7 for the win.
“We wanted Chowchilla,” Clark said. “We split with them one time and beat them another time. We were expecting it to be close. We ran out of gas at the end. Our Achilles heel is being down one set. It makes it difficult. Now we have to win three out of four. It makes it hard for us. We’re capable of it. We need to be better prepared for the grind of the fifth set.”
Karsyn Woods led the Hawks with 17 kills. Lucia Sollmeida added seven and Audrina Vasquez had six. Jackie Lopez recorded five aces and Sarah Shevenell had five blocks.
Chowchilla took the early lead behind three aces. Two Woods kills and a Sollmeida kill cut the lead to one. However, Chowchilla scored two more aces for a five-point lead.
The Hawks never could get on track in the first set and lost by 10 points.
Woods put down three kills in a four-point span for a 7-4 lead in the second set. She added an ace to extend the lead to four. Side out kills from Sadie Vasquez and Sollmeida kept the lead at four.
Sollmeida served an ace and Woods put down a kill for a 14-8 lead. Chowchilla battled back behind two aces to tie the score at 14.
Megan Gentry recorded a dump kill and Stephanie Madrigal served an ace to tie the set at 17.
Chowchilla battled back with an ace for a 20-17 lead. The teams exchanged side out kills with Sollmeida recording a tip kill for the Hawks.
Lopez went behind the line and didn’t stop serving until she ended the set. She served up four aces in a five-point span for a 25-21 second set victory.
Audrina Vasquez put down a kill to open a 5-2 lead in the third set. She added a side out kill and teamed with Shevenell for two dual blocks for a 9-5 lead. Kills from Woods and Sollmeida opened a 12-8 lead. A Shevenell solo block and a Lopez ace gave the Hawks a five-point lead.
Woods put down a side out kill for a 20-16 lead. However, Chowchilla battled back with two aces to tie the set at 20. A Shevenell block gave the Hawks the lead.
Chowchilla took a one-point lead before the Hawks scored a pair of points to get to set point, 24-23. Chowchilla got a kill, but a ball fell on the Chowchilla side to give set point back to the Hawks. Chowchilla hit out of bounds and Liberty won the third set, 26-24.
Chowchilla jumped out to a 9-4 lead before a Woods side out kill in the fourth set. The Tribe scored five straight points with an ace to open an eight-point lead.
Gentry served up an ace and Chowchilla hit out of bounds to cut the lead to five. An Audrina Vasquez tip kill and a woods kill cut the Tribe’s lead to four.
Chowchilla scored three straight points to get the lead back to seven. Liberty had a three-point run highlighted by a Woods kill to cut the lead to four. The Tribe scored five of the next six points for a 25-17 win to tie the match at two sets each.
Chowchilla jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the fifth set despite a Vasquez solo block and a Woods side out kill.
The teams exchanged six straight side outs for a 10-6 Chowchilla lead. The Tribe closed the match by scoring five of the next six points for the 15-7 victory.