Central Valley High School varsity volleyball head coach Kelly Heese shed some tears following her team's 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-21 loss to Pacheco Wednesday night in Ceres.
"It's tough to see them come this far and falter," Heese said. "They're a much stronger team."
Vying for their first-ever playoff berth, the Hawks had little room for error heading into last week's match.
Central Valley (4-6) dropped into a tie for fourth-place with the Panthers in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
"It's night and day from where they started until now," Heese said. "We have the potential to be a contender. I told them to hold their heads up high."
Mia Lorenzo collected 17 digs and one ace versus Pacheco.
Nicholette Mendez added eight assists and one dig.
Casey McCloskey and Julia Ramsey both had eight kills.
Sarah McElroy had six digs and one ace.
Lynaya Lerma had five kills and one block.
Elizabeth Olide had four assists, one dig and one ace.
Lexy Cordova had three aces and one dig.
Mireiyah Pelayo had two kills, one dig and one assist.
Linda Thompson paced Pacheco with 17 assists, three kills and two aces.
Sabrina Diaz had 15 digs.
Isabel Quintero had nine blocks and six kills.
Mykayla Latronica had eight digs.
Nicole Terry had eight kills.
Jen Eagleton had seven digs and four kills.
Heidi Villegas had seven kills.
Francine Bolling had five kills and three blocks.
The Hawks compiled an 0-2 record against the Panthers this year.
Central Valley won the first set, 25-20, during last week's matchup.
Down two games to one, the Hawks battled back from a four-point deficit in the fourth set. Central Valley eventually grabbed a 20-18 lead. Pacheco used a 7-1 run to secure the victory.
"It's the first one to three not one," Heese said. "Hopefully, this will teach them a lesson."
The top three teams in the WAC qualify for the Division-III playoffs.
Los Banos (10-0) finished in first place. Central Catholic (7-3) and Patterson (7-3) are vying for the league's No. 2 and 3 playoff spots.
"It's frustrating," Heese said. "A win tonight would have put us in a better position than we are now. A lot of it is mental."
Central Valley will close out the regular season this week against host Ceres High (Nov. 4) and visiting Livingston (Wednesday). Both matches will get underway at 6:30 p.m.