Stallions fall to top-ranked opponent
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Elissa Escobar (7), Karina Alvarado (19) and Hannah Eades (3) celebrates a block for a point during Monday’s three-set loss to Exeter.
Madera South girls volleyball coach Travis McEowen scheduled the Exeter Monarchs to give his team a test early in the season.
Although the Stallions suffered a three-set sweep to Exeter, McEowen was pleased with his team’s effort moving forward.
“It was a really good test against a really good team. It showed us some areas we need to work on,” he said.
The Stallions are based in Div. III for the Central Section playoffs while the Monarchs are based in Div. I.
Madera South got a fine all-around effort from Jazlynn Vargas, who led the team with 11 kills to go with 15 digs. She was all over the back line, diving this way and that way to keep the ball in play and keep her team in the match. Unfortunately, midway through the match, Vargas dove and fell on her elbow and her hand. She played through the injury, but was definitely hindered the rest of the way, but never took herself out of the match.
Danae Prudente helped out with six kills.
In the first set, the Stallions got a pair of side out kills from Vargas and a pair of kills from Prudente to trail 12-7. Exeter scored three straight points before Vargas hit a kill off the block for side out. She got another kill off angle and served up an ace to cut the lead to seven.
After Exeter increased its lead to nine, Anna Kajitani put down back-to-back side out kills to give the Stallions the side out. Hannah Eades put down a kill and the Stallions cut the lead to six.
Prudente put down a side out kill after three diving digs by Vargas kept the point alive. Vargas added a side out kill to keep the Stallions within six.
Exeter quickly got the side out and got to set point before a Vargas side out kill. Exeter ended the first set with a tip kill for a 25-17 win.
“They showed how much heart they had in the first set,” McEowen said. “They took that into the second set and got a nice lead. Exeter pushed us and took away the second set. I was proud of the way they played.”
In the second set, side out kills from Vargas and Kajitani, and an ace from Vargas led to a 6-3 Stallions’ lead. Prudente added a kill and served up two points, and setter Elissa Escobar added a side out kill for a 12-6 lead.
Exeter began chipping away at the lead. They got the side out and scored three more points before McEowen called a time out.
Vargas got the side out with a kill and added another with Eades serving for a 14-10 lead.
However, Exeter got the side out and took advantage of an ace and a dual block for a four-point run to take a 15-14 lead.
Vargas tied the set with a kill, but Exeter got the side out to take the lead. The teams traded side outs and the Monarchs scored three straight points for a 20-16 lead.
Vargas put down a back row kill to get the side out and Prudente put down a kill off the block to cut the lead to two.
Exeter got the side out and added two more points for a 23-18 lead. After a Monarchs’ missed serve, Angelina Aguirre served up two points to cut the lead to 23-21.
Madera South gave the Monarchs a side out with a net violation and the Monarchs finished the set with a kill for a 25-21 win.
“We changed the line-up a little bit to give us a better match up,” McEowen said. “We started the way we finished the first set, which was on a high note knowing we can compete against high-caliber Exeter.”
Exeter took the quick 7-2 lead in the third set before Madera South got a side out after a great dig by Vargas. She served up two points to cut the lead to two.
However, Exeter got the side out and added five more points, despite a Vargas hustle dig, for a 13-5 lead.
After a Madera South missed serve, the Monarchs served up a pair of aces and added a kill to get the lead to 18-7. Eades got the side out kill and Vargas recorded a solo block to help cut the lead to eight.
The Monarchs added an ace and opened a 10-point lead before the Stallions got a side out and an ace from Escobar. Then, Escobar recorded a bump kill and Vargas served up a point to cut the Monarchs’ lead to 22-15.
However, Exeter closed the match by scoring three of the next four points for a 25-16 victory.