With eyes set on a Central Section Division II Championship, the Madera South Stallions boys volleyball team swept through No. 8 seeded St. Joseph-Santa Maria Knights in front of a packed house at Madera South.
The top-seeded Stallions won 25-6, 25-9 and 25-18 in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Division II Boys Volleyball Championships to advance to the semifinals against Edison-Fresno.
From start to finish, Madera South dominated the court, sending the Knights home early Thursday evening.
Behind a team performance, including strong nights from Christian Sylvia and Riley Maciel, the Stallions move to the semifinals.
While the Knights came into the matchup with an 11-2 league record, against the Stallions, they were overmatched. With Jose Villafan and Sylvia up front, among others, the Stallions were consistently pressuring the visitors shot attempts at the net.
Whether the Stallions were getting blocks or changing the trajectory of shots, the Knights couldn’t find their way throughout the night.
In the first set, Sebastian Moreno was a rock for the Stallions. He was impeccable on his serves and setting up his teammates. Moreno scored on eight straight serves, setting the tone for Madera South throughout the night.
After a blowout in the first set, 25-6, the Stallions picked up right where they left off in the second.
Team captain Jared Guglielmana led the Stallions’ charge that pushed Madera South to a 10-2 lead. The Stallions kept the ball in bounds and forced the visitors to make a play at the net. It never came as Madera South scored four more points before a miss stopped the run.
Madera South had an 11-point until Maciel rebounded and put the Stallions up 15-3.
The Knights had trouble keeping the ball inbounds after consecutive mishits, but they began to find their way with a brief comeback attempt.
St. Joseph scored three straight points, forcing Dylan Montoya into a desperate diving attempt to stop the run, but ultimately couldn’t find the strength to turn it towards the net. Knights pulled to within 10.
With the set in sight, Sylvia took over and dominated on both sides of the game. He was forcing the visitors into tough angles at the net, but also slamming the ball with power over the net for points.
Sylvia combined with Josue Herrera to give the Stallions two strong outside hitters. Sylvia sent one over with a deft touch for a point while Madera South took the second set 25-9.
In the third set, the visitors had their best performance.
Moreno opened the final set with two straight service points, including an ace, which started off a run for the Stallions. Hernandez chipped in with a kill, to give Madera South an opening 3-1 lead.
The Stallions had the momentum and that increased as Heriberto Aguilar made a diving save to keep the ball in bounds. Aguilar ran into the Stallions’ team bench, narrowly missing his coaches.
Luckily, he was fine, and the Stallions got the point.
Behind Adrian Velazquez, the Stallions began pulling away with a 14-8 advantage. Velazquez had his serve down, forcing the Knights to play defensive. With the lead growing, the Knights had to dig in and after three points in a row, St. Joseph found themselves back in the game 17-14.
Maciel collected a kill to give Madera South some breathing room. Moreno, once again, came into the serve position and delivered four straights to put an end to any comeback hopes as the Stallions took the final set, 25-18.