Coyotes get CMAC win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Madera’s Lauren Grewal (9) and Alyssa Burton (16) goes up for a dual block against San Joaquin Memorial on Tuesday.
The Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team won its first County-Metro Athletic Conference game by way of a sweep over San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno.
Madera head coach Megan Haas and the Coyotes couldn’t have looked happier after their league victory Tuesday in Joe Flores Gym. Wearing smiles, each player was glowing with confidence. Leading up to Tuesday’s matchup, Haas had her players focusing on executing their gameplan. They executed to perfection.
“We worked on blocking a lot this week in practice,” Haas said. “And we got a lot of blocks tonight. We’re playing smarter too, making the opponent work instead of giving them points.”
The Coyotes kept up the momentum on Thursday with a five-set victory over Edison-Fresno. However, the Coyotes lost the first two sets, but came back to win the final three sets to pull out the victory.
The Coyotes jumped out to a 10-5 lead early and never looked back in the first set Tuesday. Madera never trailed in the first two games.
Libero Alyssa Carmona also perfected her role, in the first game, Carmona recorded three digs and slid across the court twice to make the Panthers earn every possible point. After jumping out to a 10-5 lead, Alyssa Burton launched a kill to set the tone for Madera, which did not trail in the first and final games.
After two aces by Ximena Escobar, the Coyotes led 14-10 before two sideouts were called with the ball bouncing off the line. Now, a 14-12 lead for the Coyotes was challenged as a back-and-forth rally dazzled the crowd. Carmona recorded two digs, allowing Burton to control the net.
Setter Lauren Grewal, alongside Burton, showcased roles on the Coyotes’ front line, blocking attempts and forcing the frustrated Panthers to make adjustments.
Madera won the first set, 25-23, a score that did not reflect the pressure the Coyotes put on the Panthers.
Grewal noticed how the effectiveness early helped her team gain confidence throughout the match. “We haven’t really played as a team, and this game, we did and it shows when we play together,” Grewal said. “This game opened our eyes, and showend when we play well, what we’re capable of.”
The second set was dominated at the net by Burton. One of her five kills left two Panthers dodging away from the ball rather than attempting a return.
For the first, and only time in the contest, Madera trailed 7-6 as other role players emerged. Lilly Ascensio recorded two digs, a kill, and rallied to serve for the Coyotes to lead from 17-11 all the way to the final point as Madera won 25-12.
In the final game of the three set sweep, Hallie Page and Katelyn Siegl complemented Burton at the net.
Carmona served through the beginning of the third game, while Burton was still recording kills.
Leading 9-5, Madera’s confidence was soaring and every point thereafter saw a pack of smiles. Siegl added two kills and Madera kept pushing and began to overflow with emotion.
A spurt of Panther points was short lived due to Page, who added three kills with perfect placement then served on an important scoring run as Madera pulled away.
Page recorded two of those three kills on consecutive points before taking over to serve, putting Madera ahead 18-13.
Those scoring runs slammed the door on any hope for a Panther comeback. However, Burton wasn’t finished. She earned two blocks with her aerial comrade, Siegl and two kills before the win went final. Now, unable to hide their smiles, Burton and Siegl completed the sweep by both recording the game-winning kills.
“We have the potential to take the whole league,” Grewal said. “I think this was really a big turning point in our season. I’m really proud of my team tonight. We know this was a big win.”
The Coyotes look to build from this performance and take the momentum into the next several games.
“We did some really good things,” Haas said. “Playing their role and I’ve tried to stress that on defense.