Coyotes snag second straight league title

With its perfect league record vanished, the Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team still did enough to win a second straight County/Metro Athletic Conference championship.

Madera (21-10, 8-1) capped the title run with a 3-0 home sweep against Edison-Fresno on Thursday.

“Especially with this being senior night, the girls are really excited, super emotional,” Madera head coach Meghan Haas said. “It makes my job easy to be able to enjoy what’s happening and not have to feed information for the whole match.”

The Coyotes were looking to bounce back after losing 3-1 against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, the team’s only loss against a league opponent in two years.

“They were really upset after that match, but it’s hard to go 10-0,” Haas said. “San Joaquin came to play the other day. We didn’t. It was tough coming out today, but they wanted it. They wanted to play in front of their family, in front of their friends.”

Madera jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first set against Edison, but the Tigers clawed back and tied the game at 14. The teams exchanged points until the Coyotes scored two in a row and took a 24-22 lead. Senior Lilly Ascencio then scored the final point, giving the Coyotes a 25-22 win in the first set.

“We did a good job on our side of the net, taking care of the ball,” Haas said.

The Tigers tried to erase another deficit in the second set, but the Coyotes refused to let up. Edison cut Madera’s eight-point lead to five midway through the set, but that was as close as they would get.

With the score 23-13, the Coyotes overcame a furious rally and took a 24-13 lead. Edison scored four straight points with set point on the line, but it was only a matter of time before Madera won the set 25-17.

Haas said the home crowd played a role in energizing the Coyotes as Edison tried to fight back.

“There was so much adrenaline running through them with so much family in the stands that it didn’t really phase them,” Haas said.

It was more of the same in the third set as the Tigers tried to climb out of a hole, but Madera held on for a 25-15 win.

As the Coyotes now look towards to the postseason, Haas said she’s not thinking about last year’s playoff loss, but some of the players might use it as motivation.

“It’s a completely different team. We have some of the same girls, but the personnel and what we’re capable of doing — it’s just a different team,” Haas said. “I haven’t thought about it that much. I don’t know if they have. I know they were trying to emulate a 10-0 season, but 9-1, we’ll take that too.”

The No. 10 seeded Coyotes will face No. 7 Monache in Porterville on Thursday in the first round of the CIF Central Section DII playoffs.

“We have to make sure people are doing their job. We don’t want to ask our kids what we think they can’t do,” Haas said. We just need them to do what they’re assigned to do. If we can do that, I think we will be successful throughout the playoffs.”