KINGSBURG - In a night seniors were recognized pregame, it would be a memorable one for the Kingsburg Vikings, who swept Selma Bears to conclude the regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
With their 3-0 victory (25-12, 25-18, 25-18), the Vikings sweep the season series against their rival. Since 2010, the Vikings have won 20-straight games over the Bears including two tournaments matchups in 2018.
In this season’s first meeting, Kingsburg earned a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 26-24, 25-17) at Selma High. Unlike the past meeting, the Bears failed to reach the 20-point mark in the Central Sequoia League finale.
“Senior night is an emotional night, so I was really proud of the seniors for the way they composed themselves,” Vikings coach Brittany Henderson said. “We’ll trying to give ourselves goals right now to meet per set and we have specific things we’re working on and it’s been really fun to see them focusing on things and focusing on getting better so that we could make a playoff run. That’s what we’re hoping for.”
Seniors Wendy Martinez, Olivia Doyle, Jennah Torres, Ally Cotton, Emma Price, and Anika Protzmann were recognized pregame.
Before the Vikings took the first set, the score was tied 5-5 tie after Kingsburg started the set with a 5-2 lead. The Vikings scored six-straight points to break the tie. After Kingsburg took a 11-5 advantage, Selma cut the lead to four points (12-8), but the Vikings closed the set on a 13-4 run.
In the second set, Kingsburg had a strong start by going on a 7-1 run and the Vikings would hold the lead for the rest of the set. Selma constantly cut Kingsburg’s lead to four and five points, but the Bears could never get the score closer The Bears eventually found themselves down 18-13 and the Vikings outscored them 7-5 to close out the set.
The third set was looking like the most competitive of the night, as the score had eight ties and the lead changed six times. After Selma went ahead 13-11, Kingsburg had the final lead of the set by scoring nine consecutive points, putting the Vikings at a 20-13 advantage. After the 9-0 run, the next closest margin for the Bears was five points.
“We got some big blocks, some big digs against some quality volleyball players, so I said they shouldn’t hang their heads tonight,” Bears coach Montana Kaufmann said. “We played some really tight sets with them.”
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Selma concludes the season at 8-22 overall and 2-10 against CSL opponents. The 2-10 record in league is more than the previous two years combined. The Bears went winless (0-12) in the CSL last year and were 1-9 in 2017.
After making deep postseason runs in the Central Section Division V playoffs in the past two years, the Bears, who were moved up to Division IV, will not compete in the playoffs this season. Selma was the runner up in Division V last year and were a semifinalist in 2017.
Kingsburg concludes the regular season at 17-19 overall and 7-5 in CSL play, which is good enough for a third place finish in the league standings. After playing a tough CSL schedule, the Vikings will enter the Division IV playoffs as the No. 2 seed.
“Leading up into playoffs, we are keeping our expectations really high and having the right mentality going in,” Cotton said.
Last year, the Vikings were the 2-seeded team in the Division IV bracket and they advanced all the way to the semifinals. They fell to eventual champion Chowchilla in a 3-0 sweep. In 2017, Kingsburg was eliminated in the semifinals after a 3-1 loss to Immanuel.
After two straight years of heartbreaking losses in the semifinals, the Vikings are looking to finally get over the hump this season.
“We are definitely going into playoffs and kicking everyone out,” Torres said. “We’re winning that Valley [championship].”
Kingsburg will host No. 15 North (11-12-1, 5-3 Southeast Yosemite League) in the first round of the Division IV playoffs at 6 p.m. on Thursday. The winner of that game will face either No. 7 Mendota or No. 10 Highland.