Madera suffers sweep despite strong effort
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera senior Erika Perez keeps her concentration on a dig during Thursday’s loss to the San Joaquin Memorial Panthers.
Despite a valiant effort, the Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team suffered a 3-0 loss at home against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno.
“I feel like we put everything on the line. It was our last game. At the end of the day, we just couldn’t get the win, but we all worked hard and we had a really good season,” Madera senior Erika Perez said.
The visitors started strong, holding a 15-5 lead in the first set Thursday evening. Madera, however, responded when Rae Jackson scored three in a row to bring her team closer. The Coyotes added two more consecutive points to make the score 15-10.
San Joaquin bounced back after its drought and led 20-11 after overcoming a long rally. The Panthers proceeded to close out the set 25-13.
Madera held a 7-4 lead early in the second set. As the Panthers then threatened to make a comeback, Madera was clinging to a 14-13 advantage.
The teams went back-and-forth until Madera pulled ahead 19-16. San Joaquin Memorial, still refusing to go away, came back to force a 19-19 tie.
The Panthers silenced the home team at that point, surging ahead to win the set 25-19.
San Joaquin Memorial found an extra gear in the third set and built a 13-5 gap. A cross-court kill from Madera’s Emily Lopez made the score 15-6. A service error from the visitors then brought the Coyotes a little closer.
After a kill from Madera’s Zoe Rodriguez, the Panthers were still holding on to a double digit lead.
Aliyah Garcia also followed up with a kill for the Coyotes as they desperately fought to make one more push. As San Joaquin Memorial stood on the verge of a victory, Jackson came up with another point to keep Madera breathing. The Panthers then nailed the final point, winning the third set 25-14 and taking the road victory.
Perez said she is proud of the progress her team made throughout the season.
“You can really tell the difference in how good we are now,” she said. “We really learned how to play defense against their hitters. We made a huge effort to get better. We didn’t let anything get us down.”