Calexico won the games 15-12, 15-9, 15-10.
"At first I was nervous and made some mistakes," said Gonzalez, "but after awhile I got the hang of it. We have a good team and our communication and determination helped us."
The do-or-die third game was a see-saw battle as the squads were knotted at 5-5, 7-7 and 12-12. Calexico got the last three points and the victory on an Arab mistake and two kills by Monica Garcia. Noriega had the final three service points.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 9-2 lead in the fourth game as they took advantage of a Coachella squad beginning to tire. The Arabs brought the score to within 13-9 as setter Carmen Moya, who had 14 service points and 12 assists, and hitter Suzie Hernandez, who had 13 points and eight kills, tried to spark their team.
Calexico persevered and used two mistakes by Coachella to win the game.
"We had some excellent leadership by Melissa and she held our team together," said Bulldog coach Cami Mohamed of Noriega, who had seven of her points in the fourth game. "She was the one that was making everyone else believe they could win."
Marathon volleyball continued in the fifth game as the squads battled to ties at 2-2, 5-5 and 10-10 before Gonzalez stepped to the service line.
The first-year varsity player, filling in for injured senior and third-year varsity player Arlene Morales, made the score 13-10 behind an ace and a pair of Arab errors. She then earned the game's final two points when Donna Garnica spiked two balls past the Coachella defense.
"I think we were in better shape down the stretch," said Mohamed of her team's physical condition. "We had a ton of unforced errors early. It wasn't what Coachella was doing to win, it was what we were doing to lose.
"Mayra really helped us tonight," Mohamed added. "She's never set for us before and it took a lot of determination for a sophomore like her to step it up."
Calexico will have little time to rest following its nearly three-hour match. The Bulldogs return to action at 6 p.m. Thursday when they hosts Yuma High.
Southwest 3, Palm Desert 2
PALM DESERT — The Southwest High School volleyball team won its first match of the season, knocking off Palm Desert 15-8, 8-15, 10-15, 15-12, 15-6 here Tuesday.
P.J. Enders led the Eagles (1-1) with 15 points. Denise Martinez had seven blocks and Jessica Conway had nine kills for Southwest (1-1).
The Eagles return to action Friday at the La Costa Canyon Tournament in Carlsbad.
Imperial 3, Julian 1
JULIAN — The Imperial High School volleyball team continued its perfect season topping Julian 15-6, 14-16, 15-10, 15-7 here Tuesday.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the season. Imperial was led by Andrea Aguirre's 12 points and 10 kills. Bianca Arambula added 13 points while Lindsay Lugo tallied 15 points for Imperial.
The Tigers will be back on the court at 6 p.m. Friday as they host Mountain Empire.