The Minarets High volleyball team (19-8, 10-0 West Sequoia League) breezed through league play and was crowned WSL title holders Oct. 27, the third straight year as champions under the direction of third-year Head Coach Jessica Carter.
Carter has amassed a 73-20 record which includes playing in the CIF Central Section D-IV title game last season, where the team lost to Sierra. This may be the year for the Mustangs to reclaim the elusive Sectional Title to add to their impressive record.
With the playoffs underway this week, it looks like the two teams could meet again this year for the section title.
The Mustangs finished league play last week with relatively easy wins over Caruthers (25-14, 25-11, 25-10) and Riverdale (25-14, 25-16, 25-13).
Against Caruthers, junior Julie Castleman led the team with 11 kills. On defense, the Mustangs recorded 48 digs, led by senior Katie Low’s 14.
Riverdale was the Mustangs’ last obstacle to a 10-0 league record. They had easily defeated the Cowboys on Oct. 11, so staying focused proved the toughest task for the Mustangs.
Again Castleman led the charge, recording another 14 kills to go with her four ace serves. Low, Sophia Manning and Kristy Berry led the defense with 36 digs between them.
Central Section D-IV playoffs
The Mustangs received the No. 4 seed in the CIF Central Section D-IV playoffs and had a first round game against No. 13 seed Granite Hills (14-8, 8-2 East Sequoia League) Tuesday night. Results of the game were not available by press time (see sierrastar.com for results).
If the Mustangs beat Granite Hills as expected, they will host the winner of No. 5 Chowchilla Redskins and No. 12 Fowler Redcats at 7 p.m. tonight (Nov. 3). The winner of that game will advance to the Nov. 8 semifinal round.
The gut wrenching loss to the Sierra Chieftains in least year’s sectional title game is still fresh in Mustang minds. Knowing they would be not be challenged much during league play, Carter and her team have focused all season on a return to the title game.
Sierra (23-4, 8-2 NSL) enters the playoffs as the No. 2 seed. Liberty (29-3, 7-3 NSL) is the No. 1 seed and Taft (25-5-3, 10-2 South Sequoia League) is No. 3.
The Mustangs have beaten both the Redcats and the Redskins earlier this season. A second round victory would most likely pit the Mustangs against Liberty in the Nov. 8 semifinals round at the Minarets gym.
A Mustang win over the Hawks would give the Mustangs exactly what they want - a trip to the Nov. 12 section title game, most likely against Sierra. The Chieftains are a motivated group, having just lost the North Sequoia League title to Yosemite last week.