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Stallions celebrate Senior Night with 3-1 victory

Courtesy of Christopher Cross

Madera South senior Veronica Ramirez rises up for a kill during Thursday’s Senior Night victory over McLane. She had 11 kills in the four-set victory.


Rather than wait until the end of the season, Madera South Stallions girls volleyball coach Travis McEowen decided to celebrate Senior Night early in the season and celebrated with a 3-1 match win over McLane-Fresno.

Six of his seven seniors started the match and the seventh entered the match as a substitute. However, the Stallions lost the first set, but came back to win the final three by a combined 75-39 score.

“We are just getting back in the full swing of things,” McEowen said. “All of the players contributed. They did a good job on the court and on the bench. It was good to see them develop.”

The return of settter Elisa Escobar allowed McEowen to let his hitters hit. The combination of Veronica Ramirez, Danae Prudente and Jazlynn Vargas combined for 33 of the team’s 39 kills and 10 of the team’s 18 aces.

“It helps to get out No. 1 setter back, but we’re still developing all the positions,” McEowen said. “It’s the next girl up mentality. It’s COVID season and anything can happen at any time. We will have a lot of playing time. We’re going to keep playing until we hear otherwise.”

The Stallions, who just got back on the court because of COVID-related issues had just one practice heading into a three-match in three-day stretch that ended with their match with McLane.

Madera South hosted Sunnyside-Fresno on Tuesday before traveling to Visalia on Thursday to face Redwood and then host the Madera Classic on Friday and Saturday.

The Highlanders took advantage of Madera South mistakes to jump out to a 6-2 lead.

Behind two aces from Jailin Ventura and two Ramirez kills, the Stallions tied the set at nine. A dump kill from Hannah Eades gave the Stallions a 12-11 lead. Eades extended the lead to two with an ace.

Side out kills from Ramirez, Ventura and Kelly Barrios kept the Stallions in the set. However, the Highlanders scored five straight points for a 23-17 lead before Vargas put down a kill.

After a trade in missed serves, Ellie Morales served an ace on set point, but the Highlanders got a kill for a 25-20 victory.

McEowen went back to his starters for the second set and the outcome leaned heavily towards Madera South.

An ace and a kill from Vargas gave the Stallions a 4-0 lead. McLane tied the set at four before a Ramirez solo block for side out. Anna Kajitani served up three points with two Ramirez kills and another from Prudente for an 8-5 lead.

Ramirez put down a kill and then served up four straight points helped by a Prudente kill and solo block for a 13-6 lead.

Vargas put down a cross-court kill for a side out and Morales went to serve for an eight-point run. She had two aces in the run. Vargas put down a pair of kills, one just inside the sideline, and Prudente had another for a 23-8 lead.

After a missed serve, Vargas got the side out and Eades finished the set with a kill for a 25-9 win.

McLane took the early lead in the third set. Side out kills from Vargas and Prudente led to Kajitani serving up three points. She had an ace in the run while Ramirez put down a tip kill for a 6-4 lead.

McLane scored four straight points to take the lead, but the Stallions came back after a Prudente ace for a 12-9 lead.

Despite getting points with the serve — a Kajitani kill and a Elisa Escobar ace —, the Stallions missed three serves, but led 17-13.

Leading 22-16 after a Prudente side out kill, Vargas put down a pair of kills to get to set point. McLane got the side out, but Morales finished the set with a kill and a 25-17 victory.

In the fourth set, Vargas put down the first kill and then served up four aces with a Ramirez kill for a 7-1 lead.

The Highlanders went on a five-point run to cut the lead to two. Ramirez served up two aces and Prudente put down a kill for a 13-7 lead.

The teams exchanged three straight missed serves before Escobar got her serve in. Vargas put down a kill and Madera South led 19-10. After another missed serve, McLane scored two straight points, but hit out of bounds for side out.

Vargas didn’t give the serve back to McLane. She served up four straight points with an ace and a Ramirez kill for match point. Vargas put down the final kill of the match for a 25-13 victory.



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