Farmersville survives road match against Orosi

Farmersville’s Rachel Rojas serves the ball against Orosi. With their win over Orosi, the Aztecs improved to 2-0 in league play and 12-6-1 overall.(Kason Clark)

The Aztecs won some tough sets against the Cardinals to win the match, 3-1; Farmersville volleyball is now 2-0 in league play and has now won three straight matches

OROSI – When league rivals face off, records go out the window. And that was the case on Wednesday night at Orosi High School Gymnasium when Farmersville and Orosi volleyball faced off.

While the Orosi Cardinals had a losing record heading into the night, they competed hard and had chances to win several of the sets. However, the red-hot Farmersville Aztecs held steady as they won, 3-1 (25-10, 26-28, 25-19, 25-23).

Many Aztecs played well to lead the team past the Cardinals. Jazmaine Stewart had a stellar night as she recorded 20 kills, 15 digs and five aces. Rachel Rojas made an impact with eight kills and eight digs and Jolina Castaneda broke a school record with the thousandth assist of her career.

Their great play led to the Aztecs’ third straight win and improved their overall record to 12-6-1. More importantly, the Aztecs are now 2-0 to start competition in the East Sequoia League, which has them feeling confident as they head forward.

“I feel like we can keep it going,” Farmersville senior Nashali Zapata said. “We have our momentum, we have our spark and this team’s going to go a long way.”

Early on Wednesday night, the Aztecs quickly got into a rhythm as they won the first set, 25-10. But the Cardinals gave the Aztecs a battle in the second. The Aztecs managed to eke out a 23-19, but the Cardinals found a spark to go on a 5-1 run to knot things up at 24-24.

Over the next few minutes, the Aztecs and Cardinals exchanged points as both struggled to put the game away. Eventually with the game tied, 26-26, the Cardinals scored two straight points to win it and tie the match. After the Cardinals struggled in the first set, Orosi head coach Amy Ahuelican liked how her team responded.

“The team started working together smoothly,” Ahuelican said. “They were pushing past their mistakes and they were just trying to get that win.”

The Cardinals continued to work together in a competitive third set. After another back-and-forth affair, the Aztecs pulled ahead for a 20-16 lead. But unlike the last game, the Aztecs held on to win it and take a 2-1 lead in the match. After losing momentum in the previous set, Zapata believes the Aztecs got back on track because they all supported one another.

“We were able to capture the momentum because we were all hyped and we told each other it was okay to make a mistake as long as we made it up,” Zapata said. “Rachel hit it into the net and she made it up with the next one where she got an amazing swing. Jolina doubled and then made a great set. So we were all just putting in our pieces and I feel like that’s why we got our momentum back.”

Just like the previous two games, the Aztecs and Cardinals battled throughout the fourth. Despite Orosi’s best efforts, the Aztecs were eventually able to take a 24-23 lead. An Orosi serving error then awarded the Aztecs the match point to end the night.

While the Cardinals gave the Aztecs a tough fight, they are now 2-7 on the season and are off to an 0-2 start to league play. As Orosi looks to get on track, Ahuelican believes there is plenty that her team can learn from this loss.

“We need to be learning how to move past mistakes,” Ahuelican said. “Serves are also really important in a game and I’m pretty sure they’re going to realize that.”

With its third straight win, Farmersville is feeling good heading into league play. The Aztecs have had their ups and downs early in the season, but Farmersville head coach Dave Light believes they are finding their stride right in time for their most important matches of the season.

“I feel like we’re playing together as a team. We’re really focused on what we’re doing and it’s almost like a new season for us,” Light said. “We really have come to play now and the girls are really clicking out there.”

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