CLOVIS — Liberty coach Amy Parker was aware of how fundamentally sound the Clovis-Buchanan volleyball team can be.
The Patriots found out what their coach worried about first hand as the Bears beat Liberty 25-13, 22-25, 25-16, 25-17 in the Central Section Division I volleyball semifinals at Buchanan on Thursday.
The loss ends a two-year run for Liberty in the D-I finals after the Patriots beat Clovis West in straight sets last November.
“They are very balanced,” Parker said. “They did a really good job at the net. I felt they were getting a lot of touches on the blocks. I thought they served very well and the pass, serve and received very well.
Buchanan will play No. 1 Fresno-Central in the finals at 8 p.m. at College of the Sequoias in Visalia after the Grizzlies came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Garces in five sets in Fresno.
Buchanan stormed out to a 20-6 in the opening set ad looked in complete control early on because of the balanced attack, led by Chico State-bound senior Kennedy Rice.
“This is truly a team,” Buchanan coach Chantal Paschetta said. “There is not one individual that stands out. They do a great job of distributing and playing selflessly for each other.”
Liberty came back and tied the match with a 25-22 second set, but Buchanan once again found a rhythm in the late sets while Liberty was unable to rally like the Patriots did two days ago in the quarterfinals against Centennial.
“That’s one of the thing one of our kids just said,” Parker said. “We usually find a way to find something and flip the switch. But the further you go in playoffs, the harder it gets to do that. Hats off to Buchanan. They played a great match.”
Lauryn Burt led Liberty (21-8) with 12 kills, a team-high 15 assists and 15 digs. as Elise Ferreira had nine kills, 13 assists and two aces.
But it was truly a balanced effort for the Bears (33-6).
Five players had at last six kills, as Lexi Pagani led Buchanan with 12 and had a match-high eight aces.
“At the end of the day, going back to the basics is what worked,” Paschetta said.
BCHS, Cal City advance - Bakersfield Christian in playing for the program’s fifth consecutive section title after the Eagles swept No. 4 Madera in the D-II semifinals.
BCHS will play No. 2 Exeter at 5:30 p.m. at COS.
Cal City swept Selma in the D-V semifinals and will play at 10 a.m. in the finals.