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Calexico High senior Liah Valdez goes up for a kill during the Bulldogs CIF-San Diego Section Division III first-round playoff victory over San Pasqual of Escondido at Varner Gym in Calexico on Wednesday, Oct. 27. The Bulldogs were eliminated by Mt. Carmel of San Diego in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Oct. 30. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO

VOLLEYBALL: Bulldogs Fall in D-III Quarterfinals

SAN DIEGO — The season came to an end for the Calexico High volleyball team when the Bulldogs fell in the CIF-San Diego Section Division III quarterfinals to Mt. Carmel of San Diego, 3-0, here on Saturday, Oct. 30.

The sixth-seeded Bulldogs (27-9 overall) opened the playoffs with a 3-1 victory over 11th-ranked San Pasqual of Escondido, winning 26-28, 25-16, 15-12, 27-25, in Calexico on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

The victory put Calexico on the road to San Diego for a matchup against No. 3-ranked Mt. Carmel, where the Bulldogs fell 25-12, 25-13, 25-16.

“Mt. Carmel was a good team and played with a lot of confidence,” said Humberto Sierra, Calexico’s first-year head coach. “We played better in the third game but we struggled with returning serve. They had some girls with very good jump serves.”

The first-round matchup with San Pasqual drew a full house to Varner Gym in Calexico where the Bulldogs drew energy from the student body, drumline and cheerleaders.

The Bulldogs led 22-17 in the opening game against San Pasqual, then failed to close out the game, letting the Golden Eagles rally back and win 28-26.

The loss seemed to wake up Calexico, spurring them on to easy wins in the second and third sets (25-16 and 25-12).

The fourth set looked like the same story with the Bulldogs in front the entire way and up 18-11 at one point. But San Pasqual again rallied and tied the game 24-24. Both teams would have set points but it was the Bulldogs who were able to finish it off with a 27-25 win.

Calexico senior Yady Zavala led the team offensively with 21 kills, followed by senior Ariadna Orozco with 12 kills and senior Liah Valdez with six. Senior Shanelle Gascon was a machine in the back row with 41 digs, followed by junior Aneth Ponce with 23 and senior Natalie Gonzalez with 18.

Bulldogs’ senior Andrea Lopez delivered 34 assists from her setter position.

“I’m very proud of the girls and happy with how we got better throughout the season and were able to get a playoff win in Division III,” Sierra said. “I have a lot of confidence in the program that the success will continue.”

The Calexico High School volleyball players celebrate after getting the final point and beating San Pasqual of Escondido in the first round of the CIF-San Diego Section Division III playoffs at Varner Gym in Calexico on Wednesday, Oct. 27. | CAMILO GARCIA JR. PHOTO
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