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Lady Generals end season with first playoff appearance in over a decade

The Shafter High Lady Generals volleyball team ended their best season in over a decade on Tuesday night as they dropped a heartbreaker to Camarillo, 3-2. The team came into the playoffs as the fifth seed, going up against Camarillo, which was seeded number 12. Shafter ran out to a lead late in the first set of the match, capturing the set by 6 points. In the second set, Camarillo came back and tied the match at 1-1.

The Lady Generals, who had closed out their SSL season with a straight-set win over rival Wasco, then put pressure on the Camarillo defense, getting several points with powerful hits by outside hitters Annemarie Piuser and Sydnee Macias, with excellent setting by Kaitlyn Arismendez and digging by the entire back row. Shafter took the third set of the match, needing just one more set to close out the match.

Camarillo picked up steam in the fourth game after the Lady Generals had begun making some mistakes on both sides of the ball. For the first half of the set, the teams were even, trading punches like a heavyweight fight. But, for the last half of the fourth game and the entire fifth set, the confident, free-swinging Lady Generals that their fans had come to know and love were not there. Their confidence seemed shaken and the team seemed to be on its heels for the remainder of the match.

Despite the loss, the Lady Generals team enjoyed its most successful season in over a decade, perhaps longer. The girls beat their rivals Wasco, with their only losses in the SSL to the Taft Wildcats. In fact, the team ended the season with an overall record of 22-5, with three of those losses to the Wildcats.

Another bright spot in this season is that the team is relatively young, with only a couple of seniors on the squad. So there is a good chance that it will not be another decade before the Lady Generals make another appearance in the playoffs.

Head Coach Sabrina Macias, who led the team to the successful year, said echoed that sentiment, saying that this is still a young team and that the Shafter High volleyball program is making its way.

Macias also said that the team has come so far from last year, as the Lady Generals suffered through a last place record in the SSL, finishing the season with only six girls on the team. "With injuries, girls quitting and other situations, there were a couple of games last year that we had to play with five girls."

Macias also said that this year, she and her staff had the girls concentrate on being a complete player, being able to perform in all phases of the game, including setting, hitting, serving, blocking, instead of specializing in one area. ""This helps them develop and learn about all areas of volleyball. This also gives them a better appreciation for their teammates. I am proud to say that this year's team has overcome many things since last season and have completely turned around our play."


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