Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Lucia Somilleda goes up for one of her nine kills in a four-set victory over Kerman on Tuesday.
The Liberty Hawks girls volleyball team has had its experience playing into the fifth set during the North Sequoia League season.
However, the Hawks defeated the Kerman Lions in four sets to celebrate Senior Night by not heading into the fifth set Tuesday evening.
“A common theme for us is going to five sets and we’ve done that four times in league,” head coach Grant Clark said. “Kerman is a team we feel we’re better than and we can dictate pace on. It’s a learning experience for us where we have to be better than them. We grew into it today. Closing out the match in four is huge.”
Senior Karsyn Woods led the team with 11 kills. Fellow senior Sadie Vasquez added four solo blocks and senior Megan Gentry recorded 33 assists. Audrina Vasquez and Lucia Somilleda each had nine kills.
“It’s amazing for the win,” Woods said. “We’re pretty notorious to go to five sets. I’m thankful for my team. It’s incredible. Going in, we went to Sierra for their Senior night. We started to think it was going to be like that. We dictated the game and held our own.”
The Hawks helped themselves from the serving line. They served up 10 aces, but routinely had the Lions scrambling to start their offense.
“I always tell my girls to serve aggressive,” Clark said. “It’s something I preach all the time. If you’re hitting the ball with intent to score, I have no problem to make an error on it. When you hit, you should expect to score. There should be some intent behind it. Through the whole year, our serving has been consistent for us. It’s been top notch.”
The Hawks won the first set with a 25-19 victory after an ace from Jackie Lopez. The Lions battled back for a 25-17 win in the second set. Liberty jumped out to a 10-point lead in the fourth set for a 25-20 victory. In the fourth set, the Hawks had just six kills, but came away with a 25-18 win.
“We were scrappy,” Clark said. “We had huge, long rallies where we both couldn’t put a ball down. It’s pretty satisfying. One of the things I’ve said before league is we need to work on our defense. I think our defense has improved a lot. It felt great to get done in four. I wouldn’t have been happy going to a fifth set.”
The Hawks opened the match on the right foot. Trailing 4-2, Woods started a rally with a side out kill. Gentry put down a dump kill and Madrigal served up three aces and eight points for an 11-4 lead.
Two kills from Somilleda gave the Hawks a 15-9 lead. However, Kerman bounced back to cut the lead to three. A Somilleda ace opened the lead to five. Despite great diving digs from Lopez, Kerman earned the side out, but Audrina Vasquez put down a side out kill. She recorded a solo block and Woods put down a kill for a 21-14 lead.
Kerman scored three straight points before a trade in side outs. A pair of Kerman missed serves led to set point. Lopez aced the Lions for a 25-19 victory.
Despite a pair of side outs from Audrina Vasquez and a Somilleda ace, the Lions tunred a 5-2 deficit into a 6-6 tie. Liberty took a three-point lead after a Somilleda kill. A Somilleda side out kill and a Vasquez kill opened the Liberty lead to 11-9.
However, the Lions scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 19-13 lead. A side out kill from Vasquez and a tip kill from Sadie Vasquez cut the lead to four. However, Kerman closed the match by scoring six of the next eight points for a 25-17 victory.
Back-to-back Audrina Vasquez kills gave Liberty a 5-1 lead in the third set. A solo block from Vasquez, a Gentry ace, two Sadie Vasquez kills and three Woods kills led to a 16-7 Liberty lead.
Kerman scored seven straight points to cut the lead to two. Woods put down a side out kill and Sarah Shevenell had a solo block to get the lead back to four. Kerman bounced back with three straight points to cut the lead to one.
After a Kerman missed serve, Somilleda put down two kills for a three-point lead. Sadie Vasquez recorded a solo block for a 23-19 lead. Kerman got the side out, but hit out of bounds for a Liberty side out to get to set point. Vasquez blocked another Kerman attack for a 25-20 victory.
In the fourth set, Kerman jumped out to the early lead. Vasquez served up two straight points to tie the st at six. Back-to-back aces from Madrigal opened a 9-7 Liberty lead.
The two teams exchanged nine straight side outs and the set was tied at 14. Vasquez served up two points before a trade in side outs.
Madrigal served up two more points with Woods getting a bump kill for a 19-15 lead. After four straight side outs, Somilleda put down a kill on a Kerman overpass for a 22-17 lead.
Kerman got the side out, but Somilleda put down a tip kill for the side out. With Gentry serving, Kerman hit into the net and hit out of bounds on match point for a 25-18 victory.