Stallions give CMAC champs a battle
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Danae Prudente gets up for a block against Sanger on Thursday. Prudente had seven kills to go with four aces and a pair of blocks in a four-set loss to the CMAC champions.
The goal of Madera South girls volleyball coach Travis McEowen in his team’s match against the Sanger Apaches was to compete and build momentum into this week’s playoffs.
After a rough first set Thursday evening, the Stallions won the second set 25-19, but dropped the next two sets 25-19 and 25-17 to the eventual County/Metro Athletic Conference champions.
“The girls played with a lot of tenacity,” McEowen said. “They went after everything. It was the most heart they put into the whole match.”
Although the Stallions had it tough from the service line, they still battled tough. Sanger recorded 16 aces, but the Stallions also had 10 of their own, led by four from Ellie Morales.
“We wanted to keep the balls in play,” McEowen said. “This was one of the best defensive nights we’ve had. We didn’t want to make errors and make good swings. Our serving after the first set was great.”
Senior Veronica Ramirez led the Stallions with 10 kills. Danae Prudente added eight and Jazlynn Vargas had six.
“Sanger is a good team,” McEowen said. “We just wanted to hang in there. Being able to be with them and the girls not backing down and taking it to them aggressively was what we wanted to do.
“This is definitely a match that will give us the momentum we needed. We need to keep it rolling into the first round of the playoffs.”
The Apaches showed why they were 8-1 heading into Thursday’s match. The jumped out to a 6-2 lead and then reeled off 10 straight points for a 16-3 lead, which included five aces.
Morales stopped the run with a block and Vargas served up an ace. However, Sanger got the side out and served up two more points.
Sanger closed the match by scoring six of the next eight points for a 25-8 win.
Sanger looked to take control of the second set when two aces gave them an 8-4 lead. The Stallions got side out kills from Ramirez, Prudente and a dump kill from Elissa Escobar to stay in the match.
After Sanger hit out of bounds, Prudente went back to serve and didn’t stop until nine points were scored to turn a three-point deficit into a six-point lead. Prudente had two aces in the run while Sanger hit four balls into the net to help Madera South take a 17-11 lead.
After a Ramirez side out kill, Anna Kajitani served up an ace for a 19-12 lead. Sanger battled back with two points before a missed serve. Prudente recorded a solo block for a 22-16 Stallions’ lead.
Sanger recorded an ace and Madera South hit out of bounds to cut the lead to four.
Prudente put down a side out kill and Morales served up two aces for a 25-19 victory.
Madera South and Sanger battled early in the third set. Side out kills from Vargas, Ramirez and Prudente kept the Stallions close.
However, the Apaches scored four straight points to turn a 10-8 deficit into a 13-10 lead. Sanger added two aces for a five point lead. Two Ramirez side out kills helped cut the lead to three. Sanger scored two points before a Ramirez side out kill.
A missed Stallions’ serve led to five straight Sanger points for a 25-15 win.
Sanger jumped out to an early 8-3 lead in the fourth set behind two aces.
A Prudente kill and a Ramirez ace cut the lead to two. Two Morales aces tied the set at 10. Sanger gained a two-point lead after an ace.
A Vargas side out kill and a Kajitani ace cut the lead to one. Sanger got the side out and scored four straight points for a 21-15 lead.
Both teams exchanged four straight side outs before the Apaches got match point and finished out the match with a 25-17 win.