Coyotes overcome opening-night jitters for comeback victory

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera’s Elizabeth Corchado (12) and Isabella Saucedo (3) go up to block an Atwater attack. Saucedo led the Coyotes with 12 kills in the four-set win.


After losing the first set to the Atwater Falcons, the Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team rallied for three straight set victories to win the match in its home opener in Joe Flores Gym.

“I think we started off the game super shaky and I think being home for the first time this season was a little nerve racking,” Madera head coach Meghan Haas said. “We have a lot of seniors who’ve been in this situation before, so they were able to kind of comeback with a vengeance.”

The Falcons dominated the Coyotes in the first set with a 25-15 victory. However, the Coyotes fought back with a 25-21 win in the second set, a 26-24 win in the third set and closed Wednesday evening with a 25-21 fourth set victory.

The Coyotes combined for 41 kills. Isabella Saucedo led the team with 12 kills. Lilly Asensio contributed nine kills with six in the final set. Jocelyn Markle also had nine kills and Cassadi Mata had eight.

“We played well all around,” Haas said. “From a setting standpoint, we started to deliver the ball to people who were actually going to put it away, so I thought our setter Jade Davie did a good job. Alicia Velasco controlled the back row a little bit, and Julianna Rodriguez kind of came in and did exactly what we needed from her.”

After an ace and kill, Atwater led 3-1 in the first set. They increased their point tally to 8-2 after consecutive miss hits by Madera.

Madera responded with a burst of energy, scoring three points to Atwater’s one.

The Coyotes’ bite was back after Saucedo unleashed a kill into the opponent area. After being down as many as six, Madera clawed back to an 11-10 deficit.

Madera couldn’t find the consistency necessary to make an impact in the first set, however. After catching the Falcons, the Coyotes fell back and couldn’t recover.

Atwater poured it on and won the set, with ease, 25-15.

The Coyotes jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead after consecutive errors by Atwater. An ace and a deflection cost the Coyotes the lead and gave the Falcons a 7-6 advantage.

Atwater continued its momentum to increase the lead to 11-8.

Saucedo fueled the Coyotes’ comeback after she sent a strong hit over the net, forcing the Falcons into a tough angle.

Madera not only forced a tie, 11-11, but they also forced Atwater to take a timeout to regroup. Both teams battled back and forth to tie the set at 18.

Madera buckled down and scored back-to-back crucial points to take a 20-18 lead.

However, consecutive mishit balls doomed Madera to tie the set.

Ascencio followed with an ace to help Madera win the set, 25-21.

Atwater opened the third set outscoring the Coyotes 6-0 and force an early timeout from Haas. Ascencio powered the Coyotes to fight back and score 10 points to claw back within one.

After Saucedo converted her first two serves, she served an ace to tie the set at 11. She then followed with a kill to give Madera the lead, 12-11.

Saucedo continued her dominance after she put down a devastating kill, which deflected off an Atwater player and out. Saucedo then followed with another kill to give Madera the lead 14-13.

Madera’s improved play carried them to a 19-15 lead. Atwater came back to tie the set at 23. Saucedo came up big with a clutch kill to take the lead 24-23. After a trade in side outs, Davie followed with an ace to win the set 26-24.

The final set saw Ascencio and Saucedo take over. The pair combine for nine kills, but their leadership and teamwork proved to be the deciding factor. Although Madera had the upper hand throughout the set, the Falcons kept on fighting back.

Atwater scored consecutive points late in the set to put pressure on the Coyotes slim lead.

The Coyotes held a 23-19 lead but couldn’t hold the Falcons any longer. Atwater pushed the score to 23-21, gaining the momentum.

Saucedo and the Coyotes closed the set out with a kill and an error on the Falcons for a 25-21 fourth set win.