Coyotes fall in home opener to El Capitan
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Isabella Saucedo reaches up for one of her 20 kills in Friday’s five-set loss to El Capitan.
The Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team played a five-set match on the second night of a back-to-back and ran out of steam in the end.
It was a back-and-forth affair from the beginning, but El Capitan-Merced outlasted the Coyotes in the final set, 15-10, to win the match, 3-2, and spoil Madera’s home opener in Joe Flores Gym on Friday.
Madera head coach Meghan Haas said there were some typical early season mistakes made in the loss, but the team is eager to keep improving.
“We’re doing some different things from an attacking and defensive standpoint, so we’re still trying to figure that out, trying to figure out what our roles are as individuals,” Haas said. “As we continue to move forward, we will figure it out.”
The Coyotes built a five-point lead in the first set against El Capitan, but the Gauchos clawed back and took a 23-22 advantage.
Madera’s Isabella Saucedo took over at that point, scoring the next two points to give the Coyotes a 24-23 lead.
As the teams continued going back-and-forth, Saucedo tallied two more points to force a 26-26 tie.
The tiebreaker finally ended with the Gauchos landing a hit out of bounds and the Coyotes winning the set 29-27.
It was another hard-fought battle in the second set, with Madera climbing out of a four-point deficit this time and forcing a 21-21 tie.
El Capitan’s Hanna Moradzadeh scored the next point to help her team regain the lead. The Gauchos then took a 24-23 and won the set 25-23 with a kill from Saaya Malhi.
El Capitan jumped out to a five-point lead in the third set and continued to extend the gap, winning 25-16 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Still, the Coyotes continued to fight in the fourth set and survived another tiebreaker with a 29-27 win.
Saucedo, who ended the game with 20 kills, scored the deciding point in the fourth set.
The Gauchos took a 4-3 lead in the fifth set and never looked back, closing out the match with a 15-10 win.
Madera’s Kaci Gonzalez tallied four aces and 13 digs in the loss, while Jade Davie recorded a team-high 27 assists.
“The final set, we were a little gassed, but the two sets before that, they had to battle back to win,” Haas said. “Being down 2-1 and getting it to a fifth set, I was very pleased.”
The Coyotes were coming off a 3-0 win against Hoover on the previous night.
Haas said it was two different types of games on the back-to-back nights, but the effort was consistent.
“We were pushed to do more things tonight than we were last night from a defensive standpoint and attacking standpoint,” Haas said. “El Capitan came up with a lot of balls defensively that weren’t being dug last night, so we had to find different ways to score tonight, which is good to be pushed and challenged.”