Sixth-seeded Frontier High, down 24-21, fought off three match points and won 26-24 in the fourth set, and then carried that momentum into a decisive 15-12 fifth set to edge No. 11 Central 3-2 in a Central Section Division I first-round volleyball playoff at Bakersfield.
"We were that close to putting them away," said coach Randy Burriss, who returned for a second term this year and went 18-14 with one senior starter, outside hitter Jodie Reitz, after inheriting a 3-28 team.
No. 5 Garces, promoted to D-I this season after finishing second in D-II last year, swept No. 12 Bullard 3-0 behind Caitlin Bernardin’s 14 kills and 22 digs. Skyler Thomas had nine kills and 13 digs for the Knights, who closed with a 17-14 record.
No. 10 Clovis upset No. 7 Stockdale 22-25, 25-23, 10-25, 25-23, 15-13 to move on to a quarterfinal Wednesday against No. 2 Clovis West.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
No. 12 Madera avenged an earlier defeat to fifth-seeded Clovis North, getting 16 kills and 20 digs from Kelsee Montagna and 43 assists from Taylor Long in a 19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18 victory.
Clovis North, which had beaten Madera 25-19, 15-15 at the Hoover Tournament in October, was led by Rebecca Waller’s 22 kills.
No. 4 Exeter, last year’s D-III runner-up, received 13 kills from Amanda Monge and 19 digs from Mattie LeClerc to beat No. 13 Yosemite 3-1.
Hoover, the seventh seed, dispatched No. 10 Selma 3-0 in one of two first-round matches in the division.
Meranda Watkins had 11 kills, five aces and five digs, Destiney Real 10 kills and Tynesha Thornton 28 assists for the Patriots, who travel to No. 2 Madera South on Wednesday.
Fourth-seeded Immanuel got a first-set scare but swept No. 13 Orosi 26-24, 25-19, 25-19.
Jaclyn Kliewer had 10 kills and Emily Bakker three kills and five aces for Immanuel.
No. 7 Strathmore beat No. 10 Fowler 25-16, 25-17, 26-28, 25-17, as Nayeli Colunga had five blocks, 13 kills and eight digs, Maribel Bravo five blocks, 12 digs and 12 kills and Hailey Tsuboi 28 assists.
Next for the Spartans is likely No. 2 Bakersfield Christian, which opened against No. 15 Granite Hills.
Ramandeep Dhillon had 11 kills, three blocks and 17 digs for the Redcats.
Third-seeded Chowchilla swept No. 14 Mendota as Elliana Diepersloot posted 14 kills and five digs and Shelby Seals 30 assists.
No. 5 Liberty-Madera Ranchos, down 21-16 in the fourth set, tied it at 24-all and, after several lead changes, escaped 30-28 to defeated No. 12 Dos Palos as Bonnie Paul delivered 25 kills and 13 digs.
Fourth-seeded Sierra Pacific, a first-year varsity program in Hanford, advanced to a Wednesday semifinal against No. 1 Kings Christian by defeating No. 5 Minarets 3-2 in the first volleyball playoff for both schools.
Minarets, a new school in the community of O’Neals, was led by Bre Cairns’ 12 kills and four blocks.