Disaster awaited one of the teams, with Minarets and Sierra highs in the same scenario as a year ago.
Once again in the Central Section Division IV volleyball final, with Minarets up two sets and needing one more to capture the championship.
Still, it was an uneasy situation for Minarets, considering Sierra rallied to sneak away with last year’s championships in five sets.
“I told them that we’ve been there before,” Sierra coach Amanda Lopez said. “Nothing’s new. You guys have done this.”
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Except this time, Sierra’s errors and mental mistakes – sometimes forced but other times completely unforced – caught up with the Chieftains.
Fourth-seeded Minarets took advantage of an error-plagued Sierra performance to lock up the sweep, winning 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 at West Hills College-Lemoore.
Of course it fueled us. We had to make sure that mentally we came out strong.
Minarets coach Jessica Carter on losing last year’s Central Section championship to Sierra
“Of course it fueled us,” Minarets coach Jessica Carter said of last year’s championship loss. “We had to make sure that mentally we came out strong. And I think that’s what did it for us.”
In the third set alone, second-seeded Sierra committed eight errors. The first point of the set served as an omen of sorts, with Sierra committing a serving error.
Minarets, meanwhile, pounced on sloppy Chieftains play that led to directly to points or allowed the Mustangs to set up and run their offense.
12Kills by Minarets outside hitter Julie Castleman
Outside hitter Julie Castleman made 12 kills on 32 attempts. Opposite-side hitter Mia Corippo added 10 kills on 29 attempts, and setter Makinley Wright had 19 assists.
“We really wanted to limit our errors and just get the ball back over so they could make the errors,” Castleman said, “’cause we knew our defense was great.”
Sierra (27-5) was seeking its eighth section title.
Minarets (28-7) won its third, all since 2012. This was the first in Carter’s three seasons.
“I’m just so proud of them,” Carter said. “On cloud nine.”
Division IV championship
MINARETS 3, SIERRA 0
25-22, 25-21, 25-21. S, Taylor Saar 7 kills, 5 digs; Courtney Parks 10 digs; Abbey Briggs 10 kills, 2 aces; Brooke Kuball 14 assists, 3 aces; Maesyn Rix 13 assists. M, Julie Castleman 12 kills, 3 aces; Mia Corippo 10 kills; Makinley Wright 19 assists; Sophia Manning 3 aces, 20 digs; Katie Low 16 digs. Records: Sierra (27-5), Minarets (28-7)