Teams prep for league at Madera Classic
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South setter Elisa Escobar starts the Stallions’ offense during a match against Minarets during the Madera Classic on Saturday. Escobar and the Stallions advanced to the Silver Division championships before losing to Templeton.
In one of the final tournaments before league play begins next week, all four Madera-area teams were in action to get much-needed court time in a run for a league title at the Madera Classic at Madera South.
Madera, Madera South, Liberty and Matilda Torres all participated in the tournament. Liberty, Madera and Madera South were all placed in the Gold/Silver bracket.
Both Liberty and Madera South were knocked out in the Silver Division quarterfinals while the Stallions bounced back from a morning loss with wins over Minarets and Reedley to advance to the Silver Division Championship, where they lost to Templeton in two sets.
“It was nice,” Madera South head coach Travis McEowen said. “It was rough getting knocked out earlier today to be in silver. It was a good response by the team with a couple of wins. Fatigue was definitely a factor, but Templeton was fatigued, too. They were the better team. They beat us.”
The Stallions will have another busy week with matches Tuesday (vs. Hoover), Wednesday (at Clovis East) and Thursday (vs. Matilda Torres) before playing in the hard Drivin Classic at Clovis North on Friday and Saturday.
“They worked hard,” McEowen said. “It’s been a busy week and have another coming up. We play Tuesday-Saturday again. No one really knew what the COVID schedule was going to be so we packed it in and played some games. We’re definitely tired, but they are getting lots of reps.”
Meanwhile, Haas is still trying to find the team chemistry. She hasn’t been able to have her team at full strength very much this season and she is hoping for more growth in order to defend the County/Metro Athletic Conference title.
“We have a lot to work on,” she said. “We need our seniors to step up a little bit. We have some sophomores in big roles and they are going to need some leadership and guidance.”
Haas said that she sees growth from her team and, with more court time, will be able to have the chemistry they need.
“It’s always good to get court time,” she said. “We’ve thrown some different things at the girls and they haven’t totally freaked out, which is good. We have to change what we’re doing based on who we’re playing. We have to do what’s best for us against each team.”
Madera will continue non-league play, but only has one matched scheduled — a trip to Chowchilla to face the Tribe on Thursday.
Grant Clark’s Liberty team is one of his favorite teams and he is just enjoying the ride with them.
“I learned how much these girls love playing with each other,” he said. “We have a lot injuries and COVID stuff, but the team spirit on the team is the strongest point. This has been my favorite team to coach. It’s a team full of competitors.”
Although Clark’s team had to play teams higher in traditional divisional standings, he was proud of the way his team competed against those higher-ranked teams.
“When we saw our pool at the beginning of the week, we were excited to play against bigger schools,” he said. “Earlier, we got matched up against Central. It was great experience against high-level teams. We are a young team. It was great experience for the. We played well, for the most part, in the tournament. We just got some bad breaks.”
The Hawks host Sunnyside-Fresno on Tuesday and play at Reedley on Thursday before heading to North Sequoia League play next week.