Buchanan tops ri­val Cen­tral for sec­tion ti­tle in vol­ley­ball

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY AN­THONY GALAVIZ agalaviz@fres­nobee.com

The Buchanan High Bears girls vol­ley­ball team re­mem­bered los­ing to Cen­tral in last sea­son’s Cen­tral Sec­tion Di­vi­sion I fi­nal.

Not this time.

The sec­ond-seeded Bears de­feated the top-seeded Griz­zlies 26-24, 18-25, 13-25, 25-20 Satur­day at Col­lege of the Se­quoias to win the cham­pi­onship and avenge that 2017 set­back. It’s Buchanan’s eighth sec­tion ti­tle and first since 2007, ac­cord­ing to sec­tion his­to­rian Bob Bar­nett.

“It was a two-year bat­tle with Cen­tral,” Buchanan coach Chantel Paschetta said. “The girls com­peted. They wanted it and ex­e­cuted re­ally well to­day.”

Cen­tral had owned the twoyear bat­tle un­til Satur­day, win­ning all four meet­ings last year and five straight be­fore Buchanan knocked the Griz­zlies off last month.

Their ri­valry ap­peared des­tined for the full five sets in Satur­day’s match, but the Bears ral­lied to 17-17 in the fourth set and pulled away, win­ning on a spike down the line.

“You have to leave it on the court,” Paschetta said. “It was emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally ex­haust­ing af­ter ev­ery sin­gle point. That was my sec­ond time­out early in the fourth set, and they just dug deep … they would not take no for an an­swer.”

Lexi Pa­gani had 15 kills for the Bears, Kylie Ker­ney 13 kills, Ash­ley Dittman 11 kills, Ju­lia Pa­gani 12 digs and Mikayla Weiss 48 as­sists.

There were two matches af­ter this edi­tion of The Bee went to press: Chowchilla vs. Im­manuel in D-IV and El Dia­mante vs. Ex­eter in D-II.

High­lights from ear­lier matches:

YOSEMITE BADGERS CHAM­PI­ONS AGAIN

It’s been a while, but the Yosemite Badgers can call them­selves sec­tion cham­pi­ons again.

The Badgers out­lasted Madera South 21-25, 25-20, 25-16, 17-25, 17-15 in the Di­vi­sion III fi­nal to win their eighth sec­tion ti­tle, first since 2004.

Madera South had a chance to clinch the match, but Yosemite’s Sayda Tay­lor had three kills in a row to tie the fi­nal set.

WASH­ING­TON UNION WINS FIRST TI­TLE

Wash­ing­ton Union won its first sec­tion vol­ley­ball ti­tle, beat­ing Selma 27-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18 in the D-V fi­nal.

Syd­ney Kuma, the se­nior who trans­ferred from Caruthers af­ter last vol­ley­ball sea­son, led the way with 23 kills and 30 digs.

Wash­ing­ton Union (32-8) trailed in each of the first three sets, then took con­trol 7-1 in the fourth. Kuma, a Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia soft­ball com­mit who’s also a stand­out in soc­cer, later had a kill and an an ace on con­sec­u­tive points to give the Pan­thers an 11-5 lead. Wash­ing­ton Union won a long point to reach 24-18 and cel­e­brated the ti­tle af­ter a Selma er­ror.

Se­nior Cece Lopez added 13 kills, se­nior Celina Garcia had 20 digs and sopho­more Mayn­hia Thao had 39 as­sists. An­other sopho­more, Jen­nifer Lopez, had an ace and a kill dur­ing the Pan­thers’ last six points.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA ezamora@fres­nobee.com

Buchanan cel­e­brates its win against Cen­tral at the Cen­tral Sec­tion girls vol­ley­ball cham­pi­onships at Col­lege of the Se­quoias on Satur­day in Visalia. In four sets, the Bears avenged their loss to Cen­tral in last year’s Cen­tral Sec­tion Di­vi­sion I fi­nal.

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