Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Jade Davie reaches for a dig in front of the watchful eye of head coach Meghan Haas during Thursday’s victory over Sanger.
Madera Coyotes girls volleyball middle blocker Isabella Saucedo has proven her leadership skills countless times through the years.
That was the case again when she carried the Coyotes girls volleyball team in a home match against Sanger, helping her team come back from a 1-0 deficit to win 3-1, just two days after a tough five-set loss to Madera South.
“It’s about having passion for the game. I want to win,” Saucedo said. “I took the team under control.”
The teams went back-and-forth early in the first set, but Sanger scored three straight points to take a 10-7 lead. The Coyotes came back with a run of their own, taking the lead on a kill by Saucedo.
After another brief back-and-forth exchange, the Apaches put together a 5-0 run to take a 19-14 lead. The lead ballooned to seven before the Coyotes scored three straight points to cut the gap. Still, it wasn’t nearly enough as the Apaches took the first set 25-20.
“After that first set, I took a look at everyone on my team and said that can’t happen again,” Saucedo said. “We didn’t come out on fire. We didn’t communicate with each other. I looked at them and said, ‘We’re gonna take the next set, we’re gonna go up a notch.’”
The Apaches made up a three-point deficit in the second set to tie it 14-14. Madera scored three in a row at that point to take a 17-14 lead. The Coyotes lead grew to six after a kill by Kaci Gonzalez.
Saucedo followed up with a ferocious kill to make it 22-15, then scored the final three points to help the Coyotes win the second set 25-15.
“Getting some momentum in the second game carried us through,” Madera head coach Meghan Haas said. “We just needed all six people on the court to start playing as a unit.”
Sanger fell behind 3-0 in the third set and never recovered. The Coyotes held a 12-3 lead after a point by Brianna Guerrero, then extended the gap to 14 after a kill by Alizae Vasquez and went on to win the set 25-8.
The Apaches bounced back early in the fourth set and forced a 13-13 tie at one point. After Saucedo unlocked the tie with the next point. Saucedo had another stretch where she scored three straight points, giving the Coyotes an 18-14 lead.
The Coyotes held a 23-18 lead after a kill by Sofia Perez. Saucedo closed it out with the final point, helping the Coyotes win the set 25-22 and clinch the win.
“I strive to be the best on the court and it seems to make everybody want to be better,” Saucedo said. “When you see somebody better than you, deep down you’re like ‘I wanna be better than that person.’ It pushes you to be better and better and better. We all do a great job of pushing each other.”