The Minarets Mustangs volleyball season (28-8, 10-0 West Sequoia League) came to an end Nov. 16 as Coach Jessica Carter’s squad entered the first round of the CIF D-IV Southern Section Volleyball Championship playoffs, losing in three sets to Ontario Christian High School 25-15, 25-15, 25-9.
Having won their first D-IV Central Section title under Carter on Nov. 12, the Mustangs earned the No. 11 seed in the Southern Section and a trip down south to take on the No. 6 seeded Knights. At 22-6 the Knights finished fourth in a highly competitive Ambassador League featuring private school powers Loma Linda and Notre Dame.
Enjoying the home court advantage, the Knights handily beat the Mustangs to move on to a second round win over No. 3 seed Notre Dame and a showdown with No. 2 Point Loma.
The Mustangs dominated the WSL going undefeated and then entered the Central Section D-IV tournament as the No. 4 seed, rolling off convincing wins against No. 13 Granite Hills and No. 5 Chowchilla and then knocking off the No. 1 seeded Hawks of Liberty Ranchos. The same Hawks had beaten the Mustangs earlier in the season with ease.
The Mustangs were rewarded with a chance at redemption - a repeat of last year’s section championship showdown with the Sierra Chieftains. The same Chieftain squad had shocked the Mustangs last season with a come from behind victory to take the title from the heavily favored Mustangs.
This year, the Mustangs made the most of the opportunity, sweeping Sierra in three games to hoist the plaque, earning their second sectional title in the school’s short history.
“I’m exceptionally proud of this team and everything they accomplished this year,” Carter said. “The growth from the beginning of the season until the end showed exactly what they were capable of and as a coach, I couldn’t be happier. This group played as a ‘team,’ improving week by week as the season progressed, peaking at the perfect time in the section playoffs.”
The Mustangs will lose eight seniors from the 10-member team for next season, including standouts Kristy Berry, Katie Low, Makinley Wright and Mia Corippo. Coach Carter will be busy as she rebuilds the team this summer as they compete in travel ball tournaments.