Coyotes make run for Silver Division title at classic
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Aliyah Garcia reaches up for one of her 12 kills in a two-set win over Mendota in the Silver Division quarterfinals at Saturday’s Madera Classic.
The Madera Coyotes volleyball team seems to have found something heading into the County/Metro Athletic Conference season after playing in the Madera Classic on Friday and Saturday.
The Coyotes were placed in the Silver Division after an early morning Saturday loss. Wins over Mendota and Tulare Western advanced the Coyotes to the Silver Division championship match against Sierra-Tollhouse where they lost in straight sets.
“We talked about having fun,” Madera head coach Meghan Haas said. “That’s what volleyball is supposed to be. That was our goal. Even from the start of Saturday to the end, We are talking about certain things and applying them. It’s baby steps for us.”
Roles seemed to have been accepted by the Coyotes. Aliyah Garcia is emerging as a go-to hitter while Zariah Bryant and Zoe Rodriguez provide support on the opposite side. Emily Lopez is settling in as the rare defensive specialist that can also play front row. Alyssa Jimenez is becoming a do-everything threat, whether it is at the net or behind the serving line.
“It takes a whole team, especially when you don’t have a giant kid,” Haas said. “Everyone has to do their part. The play in the last two matches have been much better. There is less focus on where I’m supposed to be, but more on just playing. When they are having fun, they are playing a little more looser, which gives them more confidence.”
The Madera South Stallions advanced to the Gold Division after four straight victories, but fell to eventual championship game participant Sierra Pacific-Hanford in three sets in the Gold Division semifinals.
Both the Liberty Hawks and Matilda Torres Toros volleyball teams lost in the morning matches, and both lost in their Silver Division quarterfinal matches.
The Mendota Aztecs gave the Coyotes a battle in the Silver Division quarterfinals. It took a nine-point run behind the service line by Jimenez to take control of the first set. Jimenez had two aces while Rodriguez had three solo blocks. Garcia added two kills in the run for a 21-15 lead.
Lopez served up an ace for set point and Mendota hit the ball into the net for a 25-19 win.
Jimenez opened the second set with a five point run, and had two aces. Garcia and Rodriguez put down kills for the early lead.
Kills from Jimenez and Garcia opened a 12-6 lead. Madera led 16-9 and Jimenez went back to dominate from the service line.
Rodriguez put down a tip kill and Garcia had a kill. Jimenez served up an ace and the Aztecs’ coach called time out. While talking with her team, the Mendota coach had to sit down and get tended to by the athletic trainer, and eventually, Pistoresi Ambulance paramedics.
She remained on the sideline as the match resumed. Jimenez served up another ace and Garcia put down two kills for a 24-10 lead. A Mendota service error gave the Coyotes a 25-13 win.
Against Tulare Western, the duo of Garcia and Bryant sent the Coyotes to the Silver Division championship match.
The Coyotes defeated the Mustanges 25-17 and 25-21 on the backs of Bryants’ 13 kills and Garcia’s 11 kills.
In the championship match, Sierra beat the Coyotes 25-21 and 25-17. The Coyotes had their chances, but seemed to have lost their steam. Sierra recorded eight aces in the match.
Trailing by a set and 12-6 in the second set, the Coyotes battled back. With Rodriguez serving, Bryant put down a pait of kills. Jimenez added one. Then Bryant recorded a solo block and another kill. Rodriguez served up two more points for a seven-point run and a 13-12 lead.
However, from there, the Mustangs outscored the Coyotes 13-4 the rest of the way. Madera had five hitting errors in the final 13 Tulare Western points.