Stallions win marathon for sweep
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Jazlynn Vargas tips a ball past the outstretched hands of Madera’s Sabrina Mata during Tuesday’s rivalry match. The Stallions won in five sets while Vargas tied for the match high in kills with 16.
It was just one of those nights. The battle began at the frosh-soph match and continued through the varsity match between the Madera Coyotes and Madera South Stallions in Joe Flores Gym.
The frosh-soph match went three sets. The junior varsity match went three sets. So, it would make sense the varsity match went the distance — five sets.
The Stallions won the deciding fifth set, 15-7, to capture the season series between the rivals on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty nice to get the sweep,” Madera South head coach Travis McEowen said. “This group of girls have worked really hard and have earned it. They have dealt with COVID and injuries and being able to play a solid outing is nice.”
Unlike the first time the two teams met where the Stallions won in three sets by a combined 35 points, the Coyotes battled tough with the Stallions. Although Madera South won the match, the Coyotes took two sets and cut the margin of victory to just seven points, overall.
“For two sets, our intensity level was great,” Madera head coach Meghan Haas said. “Zoe Rodriguez on the outside played great. Morgan (Burns) came in and played well. We have a few key positions that didn’t do their job. They did well, but not well enough.”
In the end, it was the Madera South hitters taking care of business. The combination of Danae Prudente and Jazlynn Vargas combined for 32 kills, which was two short of the entire Coyotes’ team.
“They came through and stuck with what they know best,” McEowen said. “Madera grinded. They dug ball and kept the ball alive. It was something we haven’t seen a lot of with our hitters not putting the ball away. Winning the long rallies was the different in the third and fourth sets.
“We wanted them to stick with it and not worrying when the first ball doesn’t go down. It’s something they aren’t used to. Our hitters swing hard and expect the ball to go down. Madera played a lot of defense. Being able to see that and keeping the ball alive helped us get the win.”
Madera’s Sophia Marin and Erika Perez kept the Coyotes in the match with a combined 60 digs, but it wasn’t enough against the Stallions.
“It’s definitely good to get a couple of sets, especially since we didn’t get on the first time.” Haas said. “To lose in the fifth, it felt like we gave up and that’s super disappointing. Madera South started to do some things and frustrate the kids. We got out of a groove and we aren’t good at pushing back.”
Zoe Rodriguez led the Coyotes with 15 kills, but she was the only Coyote in double-digits.
Madera took a 9-7 lead in the first set behind a Perez ace. The Stallions tied the set at 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 before taking a two-point lead.
The Coyotes got a kill and ace from Aliyah Garcia for an 18-17 lead before a Vargas kill.
Madera South scored three straight points with a Vargas soft kill, an Ellie Morales ace and an Anna Kajitani soft kill for a 21-18 lead.
After a missed Stallions’ serve, Vargas got the side out with a kill. The Coyotes got the side out and added a point before Kajitani put down a kill.
Prudente put down a kill for set point and Vargas aced the Coyotes or a 25-21 win.
In the second set, two kills from Prudente gave the Coyotes an early 9-5 lead.
Rodriguez put down a kill to cut the Stallions’ lead to two. Morales put down a kill and served up a point to double the lead.
Rodriguez put down a kill off the net and served up an ace. Sabrina Mata recorded a solo block to cut the lead to one before a Vargas side out kill. After Madera got the side out, Vargas got the serve back to Madera South with a kill. She served up an ace for a 16-12 Madera South lead.
Zariah Bryant served up two points to cut the lead to one. After a trade in side outs, Marin served the Coyotes into the lead with a Mata kill and a Rodriguez solo block.
Hannah Eades found the back line for a Madera South side out, but Emma Richardson’s push kill found the back line for a Madera side out.
Vargas got a kill off the net and added another kill with Morales serving for a 22-21 Madera South lead.
After a Stallions’ net violation for side out, Bryant put down a kill for a 23-22 lead. Vargas got the side out kill to tie the set. However, Bryant put down a kill for set point and Madera South hit out of bounds for a 25-23 Coyote victory In the third set, Madera took the early lead behind two Rodriguez kills. Marin served up three points to lead 11-6. Vargas put down a kill to cut the lead to two.
Rodriguez had a side out kill and added another to increase Madera’s lead to four. She teamed up with Richardson for a dual block for a 15-10 lead.
Prudente got a back line kill for a Stallions’ side out. However, Mata put down a kill for the side out. Richardson served up three aces to open a 21-12 lead.
Prudente added a kill, but the Coyotes got the serve right back. Prudente added an ace to cut the lead to seven.
However, Emily Lopez and Rodriguez put down side out kills to give the Coyotes set point.
Vargas put down a kill and Kajitani got a kill off a dig. However, Madera South had a ball drop on their end for the final point of the set, 25-19.
Madera South got the early lead in the fourth set behind a Prudente kill. Kelly Barrios put down a pair of side out kills for the Stallions to lead 8-4.
Vargas served up a pair of points. Veronica Ramirez served up four straight points with her underhanded serve she had to use because of a shoulder injury. Vargas and Barrios had kills in the run for a 20-9 lead.
Rodriguez put down a kill to cut the lead to eight, but Elissa Escobar got a tip kill. Morales put down a kill for set point. After a missed serve, Rodriguez had a pair of solo blocks, but a Madera missed serve gave the fourth set to the Stallions, 25-16, and tied the match.
In the fifth set, Escobar served up two aces and Vargas had two kills for a 4-0 lead.
After a missed serve for the side out, Vargas put down a side out kill and served up three points, with a Prudente kill, for an 8-1 lead.
Madera got the side out and Rodriguez put down a kill, but the Stallions got the side out.
Rodriguez recorded a side out kill and Perez served up three more points with another Rodriguez kill to cut the Madera South lead to 9-7.
However, Madera South got the serve and didn’t give it back. Eades served the final five points of the set. Prudente put down three straight kills to get to match point. Eades ended the match with an ace for a 15-7 win.