Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South setter Adrian Alvarez gets a ball up to start the potent Stallions’ offense.
After suffering a setback in its quest for a second straight County/Metro Athletic Conference title, the Madera South Stallions boys volleyball team righted its ship with a three-set win over the Hoover-Fresno Patriots to conclude the regular season.
The Stallions sent their four seniors — Christian Sylvia, Adrian Alvarez, Jose Villafan and Ruben Jaimez — out with a win over Hoover on Wednesday. The Stallions lost the previous night to the Sanger Apaches to drop them to 8-2 in the CMAC.
“It was good to get back on track,” head coach Steve Guglielmana said. “Sanger outplayed us. They were more disciplined. We didn’t get on our track like we should. We just wanted our guys to play hard and see what happened at the end of the night.”
The Stallions seniors were big contributors in the victory. Sylvia led the Stallions with 13 kills and Jaimez added eight more. Alvarez set the offense and Villafan closed the match with a pair of kills. The seniors combined for 24 of the team’s 33 kills.
“It was a great feeling,” Villafan said. “I really don’t get that many chances to finish plays so it was nice to do that. It was great to get this win. It makes us feel like we’re ready for the playoffs.”
“It felt good to get the win, especially since it’s our Senior Night,” Sylvia said. “We finished league strong going 8-2. The Sanger game was unfortunate. They bested us and played a really good game. That game hurt and it brought out the fire tonight.”
With the regular season coming to a close, the Stallions are the favorite to earn the No. 1 seed in the Div. II Central Section playoffs after competing in Div. I the past two seasons. The first round starts Tuesday.
“In the playoffs, I feel like we’ll come out stronger,” Sylvia said. “These matches got the rust off and we feel good now.”
The Stallions started off the match on the right foot. Two aces from Villafan and a side out kill from Jaimez gave Madera South a 4-1 lead.
Sylvia put down a pair of kills, but Hoover cut the lead to two before a service error. Sebastian Moreno served up nine straight points to give the Stallions a 17-5 lead. In the run, Sylvia recorded three kills and combined with Alvarez and Jared Guglielmana for dual blocks. Guglielmana added a kill for the 12-point lead.
Sylvia added an ace and a Guglielmana side out kill gave the Stallions a 20-10 lead. A Jaimez kill and a Josue Herrera solo block extended the lead to 23-12.
Hoover scored four straight points to cut into the Stallions’ lead, but a missed serve gave the Stallions set point. A Sylvia and Moreno dual block gave the Stallions a 25-16 first set win.
Riley Maciel opened the second set with a solo block and Dylan Montoya served up an ace for a 5-1 lead. Side out kills from Sylvia and Moreno kept the lead at three before two Hoover hits out of bounds opened a 9-5 lead.
Alvarez served up three straight points, all Hoover errors, for a 14-6 lead. Hoover wasn’t down and cut the lead down to five despite side out kills from Jaimez and Moreno.
Side out kills from Guglielmana and Herrera gave the Stallions a 22-16 lead.
Hoover kept getting side outs from the Stallions, but Jaimez recorded another side out kill and Villafan recorded a back row kill to get to set point. Montoya aced the Patriots for a 25-18 victory.
Alvarez served up four straight points to open the third set. Jaimez and Maciel recorded kills and Maciel combined with Guglielmana for another.
After a Hoover side out, Jaimez put down a kill. Hoover scored three straight points before a Jaimez side out kill.
The Patriots cut the Stallions’ lead to one. Then, Sylvia took over. He put down a side out kill. Guglielmana followed with a kill and Sylvia put one down for an 11-5 lead.
After a Hoover side out, Sylvia followed with a side out kill. After Maciel combined with Guglielmana for a block, Sylvia put down two kills to extend the lead to nine.
A trade in side outs led to two dual blocks from Maciel with help from Jaimez and Moreno. Jaimez added a kill to open the lead to 20-8. Hoover tried to chip away at the lead and eventually got it down to nine.
Howver, Sylvia put down a side out kill and Villafan put down another side out kill to get to match point.
After a missed Stallions’ serve, Villafan ended the match with a kill for a 25-16 victory.