Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Arelis Chavez (17) and Destiny Perez (20) rise up for a block against an Edison attack during Tuesday’s victory.
Boasting a perfect record in the County/Metro Athletic Conference, the Madera South girls volleyball team traveled to Edison High School to face an opponent who hasn’t won a game in league.
The winless Tigers played tough on their home court, but the Stallions prevailed with a 3-1 win on Tuesday.
“We didn’t come out swinging,” Madera South head coach Travis McEowen said. “I gotta give it to Edison. They forced us to make plays and we weren’t ready.”
The Stallions found themselves in a deficit after the first set, but then completed the comeback with a gritty performance in the fourth set.
McEowen said it was a mental adjustment which helped the Stallions regroup.
“We checked into this game and got ready to go,” McEowen said.
The Stallions had a 5-4 lead in the first set after a kill by Jacky Granados, but the Tigers scored three straight at that point and didn’t look back.
Edison’s lead grew to six points after a kill by Monique Balderas. Madera South managed to put together two straight points to cut the gap to four, but Edison’s Amani Abed came back with a kill to spoil the Stallions’ momentum.
The Stallions continued to fight, putting together another run and cutting the gap to three points when Jacky Guglielmana tallied a kill.
The Tigers’ lead shrunk to two when Abed’s shot landed out of bounce. With game point on the line, however, the Stallions committed a net error and lost the first set 25-22.
After Madera jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, the Tigers fought back to force a 5-5 tie. The Stallions then regained the lead and continued to extend the gap.
Veronica Ramirez’s kill gave the Stallions an 11-6 advantage, but the Tigers didn’t go away quietly.
Edison’s A’Niya Thomas came off the bench and scored three straight points to help the Tigers cut the lead to three points.
Edison continued its momentum after Thomas went back to the bench and found itself down 22-20.
The Stallions, however, regained their footing in the final stretch and won it 25-20.
Madera South built a 7-0 lead in the third set and continued to expand the gap. Arelis Chavez was a big factor in the Stallions dominant third set.
Chavez scored three straight at one point to give the Stallions a 22-8 lead.
The Tigers cut the lead to eight after Chavez’s streak, but that would be as close as they would get.
Chavez came up with another block to end the Tigers’ momentum, setting up game point before the Stallions won the set 25-15.
“We all had our bad moments, but we fought through it,” Chavez said.
The Stallions had to fight harder in the fourth set, which was decided with a tiebreaker.
After the teams exchanged leads early in the set, Chavez tallied another kill to give the Stallions a 15-14 lead. The Stallions then built a two-point lead, but only to see the Tigers comeback and take a 22-20 lead.
The two teams once again found themselves in a tie when Abed hit a shot out of bounds, making the score 22-22.
Madera South then prevailed in a long rally and took a 23-22 lead. The Stallions’ advantage grew to two when Abed landed another shot out of bounds.
With match point on the line, the Tigers came back to force a tiebreaker. Still, the Stallions took a 25-24 lead after a sideout and closed out the game when Chavez calmly tipped the ball over the net for the final point.
“We got the win. We’re 3-0, but to get to where we want — in Valleys, playoffs and league — we need to do better,” McEowen said. “We need to work harder. In practice and games, work harder.”