Clovis News: Sports

Buchanan volleyball serves notice

Buchanan High, already the owner of seven Central Section volleyball championships, delivered a message Tuesday night.

The road to the Division I title again should go through the Bears' gym.

Overcoming a meltdown in the fourth set, Buchanan rallied for a 25-21, 18-25, 26-24, 10-25, 15-11 victory over host Clovis West to all but clinch the Tri-River Athletic Conference title -- and possibly the top playoff seed -- before a raucous, overflow crowd.

"This was a really important match, especially for our seniors," Buchanan senior Jessie Alcorn said. "We wanted to show them what we've got at Buchanan. They brought it tonight and we brought it."

Top-ranked Buchanan and No. 2 Clovis West have been the section's top two teams all season, according to a poll of coaches put together for The Bee. And now the Bears (21-3, 7-0) have two victories over the Golden Eagles (27-10, 6-2), coupling this with a 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-19 win Oct. 8.

Only third-ranked Centennial (22-2) appears to be a threat to Buchanan for the top seed. The Bears and Golden Hawks have not faced each other this season.

"I think we earned the top seed," said Buchanan's Chloe Ferrari, who had 17 kills, 13 digs and two blocks. "This gives us confidence."

A six-point run with Sarah Horton at the service line turned a 2-3 deficit into an 8-3 advantage for Buchanan in the fifth set.

Clovis West got it to 8-7 on an Ashley Ferguson kill, but was never any closer.

A pair of kills from Hilary Brians, three from Alcorn and one from Horton got the Bears to match point. And that's where Ferrari took over, powering a thunderous shot down into the middle of the court to bring this 2-hour-plus thriller to an end.

"We just went all out," Ferrari said. "We were dead tired, but we said it was just 15 points. We got it done."

With a chance to finish off the Eagles, Buchanan didn't get much done in the fourth set. Clovis West scored 15 of the first 18 points, but the defending D-I champ likely has lost any shot it had at the No. 1 seed.

"Their gym, our gym, it doesn't matter," Eagles coach Rhonda DeRuiter said. "We're fighters. I think we have a better idea now what to do against them."

Shannon Leary led Clovis West with 19 kills. Ferguson added 12 kills and Melody Mandelbaum had 52 assists.