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Selma falls short

Selma's Mia Salinas and Danielle Leon jump up to block the ball during the second set of the CIF Central Section Division V Championship against Washington Union on Nov. 3. 

WOODLAND HILLS - The 2018 season came to end for the Selma volleyball team after being swept 3-0 by the top-seeded El Camino Real Conquistadors on Nov. 8 in the second round of the CIF State Division V playoffs.

It was the second state playoff game in the history of Selma High’s volleyball program, who went 1-1 in the Southern Regional Division V bracket as the No. 9 seed. The Bears state playoff win came against No. 8 seed La Puente High School in the first round. Selma defeated the La Puente Warriors 3-0.

The Bears’ season ends at 13-25 overall and 0-12 in Central Sequoia League play.

“We’re just so proud of them,” Selma head coach Montana Lowe said. “If you would of ask us [the coaching staff] a month ago if we thought we would’ve made it this far, we probably never expected it. We were so proud of them to be able to come back from an 0-12 league [record] and go this far in the playoffs.”

In her second year as head coach, Lowe coached her team to a Central Section Division V title and state playoffs appearances.

“Last year, we felt we would’ve made it,” Lowe said. “To get that far this year from a coaching perspective, I was ready to kind of change my mindset in championship mode. As an athlete, I never made it this far, so it was really cool to be able to take a team this far as a coach.”

As a player at Clovis High, the furthest Lowe has played in the playoffs was the second round.

After Selma lost to Washington Union in the Division V championship, Lowe told the girls she was proud of them.

“I was like ‘Look there’s nothing to be hanging your heads about or disappointed about,’” Lowe said. “‘I never made it this far as an athlete, regardless of the outcome today, just be happy that you made it.’”

The team missed out on winning the program’s first Valley championship, but the girls still ended up making history by qualifying for the CIF State playoffs. It was the first state playoff appearance in the program’s history.

The Bears continued to make history with the program’s first state playoff win against La Puente High School on Nov. 6.

In that game, Gurleen Brar had a team-high 11 kills, followed by six each from Mia Salinas and Danielle Leon. Libero Genesis Rodriguez lead the team with 14 digs and Salinas was behind her with eight.

In the second round game, Clarissa Moreno led the team with eight kills, followed by Brar with six, and Salinas with three.

Brar ended the season with team-high 217 kills and Moreno was second at 191. Leon was third at 122 kills and Marissa Cerda was fourth with 101. Salinas, the team’s setter, had a team-high 56 service aces while Rodriguez led the team with 481 digs. Salinas was second on the team in digs with 193 and Moreno was third with 183.

Lowe said she thought her team deserve to host a state playoff game in the first round, but they were prepared to travel for a long trip to Southern California.

“We came in, we took care of business, with a 3-0 [sweep],” Lowe said about the game against La Puente. “We were ready, we were prepared, we were even down 10 at one point and we came back and won. So it just showed our perseverance and nobody on this team is going to give up on each other.”

In both of its states games combined, the Bears traveled a total of 425 miles and approximately 6 ½ hours.

Despite the long trips, Lowe said it was “awesome” to make history with the team.

“Coaches have doubted us this whole season,” Lowe said. “It’s just off of our league play, but we really do have a lot of strong players. When put up against competition that’s fair to us, we can be very successful. I keep telling this girls ‘Look we made history, let’s keep going, there’s nothing lose now.’”

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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