Monache volleyball loses first league game in four years

Tulare Western defeats Monache in five sets, earns shot at a share of league title

PORTERVILLE – Prior to Monday, the Monache Marauders had gone 1,462 days between losses in the East Yosemite League (EYL). The phenomenal streak was finally snapped as the Tulare Western Mustangs went into the energetic Marauder gym and won in five sets.

Coincidentally almost four years to date, Monache’s last league loss came on Oct. 17, 2017 against Mission Oak. As the top two teams in the EYL, both the Marauders and Mustangs came into the match with league title aspirations on the line. Monache was the obvious favorite but Tulare Western has put together their best season in over ten years and are now a game behind the Marauders for first place. Both teams have one game left tonight so the Mustangs need to win against Tulare Union to have a shot at sharing the title. The Marauders have a cross-town rivalry game against Porterville which is always an intense matchup, but if they win then they’re league champions for the third straight season. If Monache loses and Tulare Western wins, then they’ll share the trophy.

Monday night’s game was a true heavyweight bout as both squads were exchanging blows for five straight sets. Monache got the early win in the first set but Tulare Western came right back to take a commanding lead in the second set. That’s when Monache’s star began to shine as junior Morgan Hunter hit several serving aces in a row to get her team back within a few points. The Marauders stormed back and tied the game at 24 before the Mustangs pulled it together and scored back-to-back points to tie the match at one set a piece.

The back-and-forth haymakers continue to fly through the third set, with Tulare Western again taking a slight but early lead. Similar to the second set, Monache went on a late run to tie the match at 18. The Mustangs didn’t fold under the pressure of the champs and scored six straight points which ultimately put the set out of reach and they went on to win 25-20.

With their winning streak on the line, Monache had their best performance of the night in the fourth set as the 25-16 victory tied the series at two apiece.

Set five had the energy of a playoff game. Fans on both sides were on their feet cheering as the two teams worked to close out the game. The fifth set followed the game script of the second and third sets, as Tulare Western would lead by a couple of points before Monache came right back to tie it up. After the game was tied at nine, the Mustangs kicked it into another gear and scored six of the next seven points to close out their first win over Monache since 2014.

Tulare Western head coach Laura Brinkman took over the team in 2015, so it was her first time getting a win against Monache. Marauder head coach Rosalia Quinones took over the following year and it was just her fifth EYL loss in her five seasons with the team.

Start typing and press Enter to search