The Minarets Mustang volleyball team (18-4, 2-0 WSL) is right were they want to be as they prepare to defend their league title. Coach Jessica Carter’s team has 11 straight wins as they enter the second week of league play.
The Fresno Bee has the team ranked No. 2 in Central Section D-IV behind undefeated Sierra.
Coming off their undefeated run at the Madera South Tournament in September, the Mustangs dropped a two-game match to Atwater, then bounced back with a win against Golden Valley. The Mustangs beat Dos Palos in three games (25-17, 25-14, 25-21) to complete the sweep. Halli Grant was selected Player of the Match.
A 3-0 set win against Sunnyside followed by a sweep of Roosevelt on Oct. 1 had the team in high spirits as they entered league play, defeating Caruthers (7-14) Oct. 6 in three sets (25-13, 25-9, 25-12). Senior Carlee Boomer had eight kills in the game and sophomore Julie Castlemen recorded eight aces.
The team then played rival Fowler on Oct. 8, winning in three sets (25-16, 25-15, 25-9). The Red Cats were expected to be the team standing between Minarets and another WSL league title, but if the first meeting is any indication, the Mustangs are in great shape to repeat.
Communication was the Mustangs’ greatest hurdle as they struggled early in the season. Those problems seem to have been worked out as Minarets is above the national average in nearly all categories. The national average for attack/kills is 385, the Mustangs have close to 400. For digs the average is 650, Minarets has recorded more than 850. With nearly 100 blocks, and 380 assists, Minarets is well over the national average.
The Mustangs played Edison in tournament play Oct. 9. The Mustangs had beaten the Tigers on Sept. 18, and this game had the same outcome, with Edison winning the first set 25-17, and the Mustangs winning the next two (25-16, 15-13).
The team then played the Reedley Pirates (5-13) on Oct. 10, who were no match for the Mustangs who won 25-20, 25-12. The Mustangs then defeated the Hoover Patriots (4-15) in three sets (17-25, 25-20, 15-6). Julie Castleman was selected player of the match.
The third match of the day was against the Roosevelt, a D-I team from Los Angles, who beat the Mustangs 25-17, 25-20. Fatigue was a factor as it was the Mustang’s seventh game in four days.
Up next for the Mustangs this week was a match against Parlier, 0-12, still in search of their first win and another meeting with the Fowler Red Cats, 9-13, as they visit Minarets Thursday Oct. 15th. The game is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. start.