Madera comes up short in comeback effort
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera setter Emma Richardson starts the offense for the Coyotes during Tuesday’s loss to the Bullard Knights in Joe Flores Gym.
The Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team picked up the intensity after a slow first set, but it wasn’t enough against the Bullard-Fresno Knights, who won the match 3-0.
The Knights, who cruised to a 25-15 win in the first set, found themselves in a much different battle in the second set as Madera jumped out to a 5-4 lead Tuesday evening in Joe Flores Gym. After the Coyotes pushed the gap to 10-7 in the second set, the visitors responded to force a 10-10 tie. Madera then pulled ahead 12-10 before the Knights responded again to tie it at 12-12.
Bullard led 14-12 lead at one point, but a service ace from Madera’s Sofia Marin tied the set at 17. Zoe Rodriguez followed up with another point to give the home team an 18-17 advantage.
After a service error from the Coyotes, the two teams still remained tied. As the back-and-forth affair continued, Zaraiah Jackson recorded a kill to give Madera a 21-20 lead. With the set tied 24-24, the officials stopped the game to discuss an uncertain out-of-bounds call. The call ultimately ended up in favor of the Coyotes, giving them a 25-24 advantage. Bullard, however, answered quickly as the set extended into a tiebreaker duel.
The intensity in the gym went up another notch as the teams continued to go back-and-forth, desperately fighting for the decisive tiebreaking point. It was the Knights who eventually prevailed, blocking a Madera attempt at the net to win the set 28-26.
Madera head coach Meghan Haas said her team was able to make the right adjustments after the first set.
“We did a lot of tipping. We weren’t going out to attack. We were trying to just keep the ball in play. They got into a rhythm and started having more fun,” Haas said.
Madera appeared to still have some energy left in the tank as the third set began. But the Knights erased Madera’s early lead and started to slowly pull away, holding a 13-9 advantage after a service error from the Coyotes.
Madera cut the gap to three points after the Knights pushed their advantage to five. But that was as close as the Coyotes came. The visitors proceeded to win the final set 25-20.
“The last time we played Bullard, we beat ourselves. Coming out tonight, we passed way better. We gave ourselves a chance,” Haas said. “I’m proud of them.”