Stallions stumble in home opener
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Jazlynn Vargas sends a ball past the Central block in Tuesday’s three-set loss.
Playing for the first time in 10 days due to certain health restrictions, the Madera South Stallions took a while to shake off the rust in a three-set loss to the Central-Fresno Grizzlies.
“We’ve been out for a little bit. We were restless in spots,” head coach Travis McEowen said. “The girls did a really good job coming in and playing with the adversity to pick up the slack.”
McEowen’s returning setter transferred to another school and her replacement was out on Tuesday so the Stallions had to piece it together, and it showed against a solid Central team.
“We got two of the three touches, but one of the three touches didn’t end up where we need to be. We will get that worked on,” McEowen said.
The Stallions recorded just 16 kills in Tuesday’s loss.
In Wednesday’s four-set victory over Minarets, Danae Prudente recorded 17 kills. Jazlynn Vargas led the Stallions with five kills on Tuesday while Prudente and Hannah Eades had four kills each.
Madera South also had trouble on serve receive. Central recorded nine aces in the sweep.
Madera lost the first two sets by a combined 50-21. However, the Stallions battled in the third set with the help of their bench.
“The energy was really good, on and off the court,” McEowen said. “They were playing really good to see and it’s nice to see early in the season.”
With side out kills from Prudente, Vargas, Eades and Veronica Ramirez in the first set, the Stallions stayed close to the Grizzlies. However, a four-point run started to tip the scales.
After an Eades tip kill, Ellie Morales served up three straight points with an Eades kill to cut the lead to 11-8.
Central got the side out and scored three more points to extend the lead to six.
Side out kills from Eades and Vargas and a push kill from Prudente cut the lead to four.
Central scored four straight points to get the lead back to eight.
From there, the Grizzlies scored six of the next nine points for a 25-15 victory.
The Stallions couldn’t find any footing in the second set. The two teams exchanged side outs for the first seven points of the set.
Then, Central went on a run that took two time outs from McEowen to get out of. The Grizzlies scored seven straight points after a side out for a 12-3 lead.
Prudente served up an ace in a three-point run, but the Grizzlies got the side out and didn’t give it back.
The Grizzlies scored the next 12 points with four aces and seven Stallions’ errors for a 25-6 win.
The Stallions battled back in the third set. Vargas got the first sideout with a push kill and served up an ace for a 3-0 lead.
The Grizzlies got a kill and an ace to cut the lead to one before Prudente put down a kill. Anna Kajitani served up two straight points for a 6-2 lead.
The Grizzlies started to come back and scored eight of the next nine points for a 10-7 lead.
After a Central missed serve, Prudente served an ace to cut the lead to one. After a Vargas kill, Morales served up three points, including an ace to give the Stallions a 13-11 lead.
Central tied the set at 13 and the two teams tied at 14, 15, 16 and 17 before the Grizzlies scored two straight points.
Central scored three straight points after a double contact violation on Madera South for a 23-18 lead. After a pair of side outs, Central had match point. Eades put down a kill for the side out, but Central finished the match with a kill and a 25-20 victory.