Golden West’s season ends with semifinal loss

Golden West volleyball suffers a 3-0 loss to Fresno Christian in the semifinals of the Division IV Central Section playoffs; the Trailblazers finish their season with a record of 14-19

(Kason Clark)
(Kason Clark)
Kason Clark
Published November 7, 2023  • 
11:00 am

FRESNO – Despite being the No. 11 seed in the Division IV Central Section playoffs, Golden West volleyball went on quite the run. But the Trailblazers’ Cinderella run came to an end on Oct. 31 with a 3-0 loss (25-13, 25-16, 25-21) to Fresno Christian in a semifinal match on the road.

In the final match of Golden West’s season, Shianne Davis led her team with seven kills and two solo blocks.  Emily Enriquez led the Trailblazers with 16 digs while Riley Hendrix recorded 11 assists. While the season came to a disappointing end, the Trailblazers had quite the run to reach the semifinals.

After opening the postseason with a 3-2 win (25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 25-17, 15-11) on the road over Caruthers, the Trail Blazers stayed hot on Oct. 26 against Dinuba. Now playing on their home court, Golden West defeated Dinuba, 3-0, (25-17, 25-11, 25-18) to advance to the semifinals.

“It felt really good to win in this gym tonight. This group of girls is special and they played together and they played consistently,” Golden West head coach Kayla Swift said about the win over Dinuba.

Many Blazers played well in order for them to advance in the postseason. Davis led the team with 16 kills while also recording 14 digs and 2.0 total blocks. Amanda Caudillo also played well with 13 kills and ten digs. Other contributors for Golden West include Hendrix with 37 assists and Enriquez with 21 digs. 

The Blazers did have a slow start to the night as the Emperors took a 7-4 lead in the first set. But the Blazers got in a rhythm with a 6-0 run to take a 10-7 lead. Over the rest of the contest, the Blazers slowly pulled away to win, 25-17, to take a 1-0 lead in the match. As the Blazers won the opening set, Caudillo believes it was their energy that gave them control.

“We all just supported each other,” Caudillo said. “We brought each other up, cheered on every point, celebrated and kept the energy high.”

The energy stayed high as the Blazers raced out to a 15-5 lead to start the second. Dinuba failed to respond as the Golden West rolled to a 25-11 victory to take a 2-0 advantage on the night. As the Blazers kept rolling, they did not let their few mistakes allow the Emperors to come back. 

“We just slowed down if we started to get messy,” Caudillo said. “We were just calming down and we just kept bringing each other up, just kept getting more points and not letting them score anymore.”

Looking to close out the night, the Blazers raced out to a 21-12 lead in the third. The Emperors found some momentum with a 6-2 run to cut their deficit to 23-18. But the Blazers scored two straight points to win, 25-18, to finish the match and clinch their spot in the semifinals. 

With their playoff run now over, the Trailblazers finish the season with an overall record of 14-19. While the season came to a disappointing end, Golden West volleyball will look to build off its postseason run as the program looks to the future.

Kason Clark
Reporter