Farmersville falls in Central Valley title game

Farmersville’s Jazmaine Stewart goes for the ball in the Division 6 Central Valley championship match. Roosevelt defeated Farmersville in five sets to claim the section championship.(Kason Clark)

Farmersville volleyball loses in five sets to Roosevelt in the Division 6 Central Section championship match; the Aztecs finish their season with a record of 24-10-1

FARMERSVILLE – It had been a great postseason for Farmersville volleyball as the Aztecs had fought their way to the Central Valley championship match on Thursday, Nov. 2. And in their home gym, the Aztecs looked like they would claim the regional crown as they took a 2-1 lead over the Roosevelt Rough Riders.

But the Aztecs could not close it out as Roosevelt won the final two sets to defeat Farmersville, 3-2, (10-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-15, 15-4), and claim the Division 6 Central Section championship.

While it was a disappointing end to the season, the Aztecs had quite the run to reach the championship match. In their first three matches of the postseason, the Aztecs did not drop a single set as they swept Mojave, Legacy Christian Academy and Lone Pine. With their run now over, Farmersville head coach Dave Light is proud of how the Aztecs played in their final few weeks of the year.

“We played our hearts out,” Light said. “We played tough against some very tough teams. We just couldn’t get over the hump tonight.”

With their win over Farmersville, the Roosevelt Rough Riders cap off an unlikely championship run. They entered the postseason with a 12-17 record that earned them the No. 12 seed in the bracket. But the Rough Riders went on a tear as they defeated Strathmore and then Lompoc to start the postseason.

The Rough Riders then upset No. 1 seed Orange Cove on the road to advance to the championship match. Then after trailing, 2-1, to Farmersville, the Rough Riders rallied to win the last two sets to win the Central Valley title.

“This whole season has been a super wild journey. It’s been up and down,” Roosevelt head coach Heather Loflin said. “These girls just came out wanting it and they finally found that love for each other and the faith in each other and we just grinded.”

The Rough Riders had to earn the title as the Aztecs took momentum to start the night. They jumped out to a 13-4 lead to start the first and eventually build themselves a 21-10 lead over the Rough Riders. The Aztecs then scored four straight points to win, 25-10, for a 1-0 lead in the match. 

After dropping the first, the Rough Riders bounced back in the second. With the game tied, 15-15, the Rough Riders went on a 6-3 run to take a 21-18 lead. Roosevelt then scored four straight points to win, 25-18, to tie the match, 1-1.

In the third set, the Aztecs and Rough Riders went back and forth. The Aztecs looked like they would run away with it as they took an 18-11 lead, but the Rough Riders came back to tie it, 21-21. The Rough Riders were then able to pull ahead for a 24-23 lead to set up the set point. 

But the Aztecs finished strong with a 3-1 run to win, 27-25, for a 2-1 lead in the match. While the Rough Riders gave them a battle in the third, Light believes the Aztecs survived because of their energy.

“We were playing really aggressively and we were making very few mistakes,” Light said. “Had we been able to keep our aggressiveness, I think we would have been able to take the match.”

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Farmersville’s Rachel Rojas serves the ball against Roosevelt in the Central Valley championship match. (Kason Clark)

The Aztecs could not keep up that intensity in the fourth as the Rough Riders jumped out to a 21-6 lead. The Aztecs tried to climb their way back as they went on a 9-3 run to cut their deficit to 24-15. But a serving error gave Roosevelt the set point for the 25-15 win that forced a fifth set.

The Rough Riders then rode out to an 8-1 lead to start the fifth. The Aztecs were unable to put up a response as Roosevelt ran away with it for the 15-4 victory and the Central Valley title. After a strong start to the night, Light believes the Aztecs played it too safely down the stretch. 

“We got a little bit tentative and we were giving them opportunities for them to be aggressive and I think that’s what turned the tide,” Light said. “But they’re a great team. They played very well and they deserve what they got.” 

With their second-place finish in the Division 6 Central Section playoffs, the Aztecs finish their season with an overall record of 24-10-1. In her final match of the season, Jazmaine Stewart recorded 17 kills and 23 digs for Farmersville. Her teammate Jolina Castaneda recorded 24 digs and 22 assists in the losing effort.

With the season over, the Aztecs will now lose a talented senior class that consists of Castaneda, Rachel Rojas, Nashali Zapata, Johanna Hernandez, Estrella Valencia and Natalia Herrera. While Light will miss their contributions to the team, he believes their success has set the foundations of a strong program for years to come.

“They really set the tone for all four years of what we needed to do. It’s hard to see them go but they helped build a program here,” Light said. “I wanted Farmersville to be the program that nobody wants to play and now that’s true. Nobody wants to have us on their schedule now that they know they’re going to be in for a very big fight.”

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