VOLLEYBALL: Miners clip the Hawks wings

The El Diamante Miners defeated the Mission Oak Hawks in four sets, conceding only one win in the second set

VISALIA – The El Diamante Miners beat the Mission Oak Hawks 3-1. In a game of long volleys and battles for points, the Miners had more stamina and were the more consistent team.

The Miners came off a win against Sierra last Thursday while the Hawks were coming off a loss to Porterville. The Miners were crisp in warmups as they rotated through combinations and they carried that energy into the game. The Hawks brought hustle though and kept up with the Miners in points. It was only after losing their second set that they also lost their stamina. That opened the door for the Miners to rack up the points in the fourth set and secure an overall win.

“It was a good win,” El Diamante head coach Ken Clyburne said. “Obviously any win is a good win, but that will propel us to our game on Thursday and we’ll see how the year plays out.”

In the first set, the teams traded points. Both the Hawks and the Miners had crisp combos, so the volleys were long and tiring for the players. The opposite hitters for both teams made kill after kill, but the defense always seemed to be there. A consecutive contact penalty on Mission Oak when the score was 23-21 cost them a crucial point in the set. The Miners won 25-23.

“It never fails to amaze me the first home game jitters,” Clyburne said. “They’re tight because their friends or parents are in the stands.”

The second set was as hard-fought as the first, and the only set the Miners gave up. Mission Oak’s opposite hitter put up point after point, driving the Miners back. El Diamante pulled ahead at first, but Mission Oak rallied and came from behind to win the set 25-23. 

“I think the team played great,” Hawks head coach Sara Gauna said. “They didn’t really play with each other last year and I feel like coming into this season they’re getting stronger and stronger.”

The third set was plagued by questionable calls and in turn a lot of jawboning by the Hawks. They played as hard as they did in the first and second sets, hustling for balls out of bounds and diving after kills. The Hawks called a timeout when the Miners were up 21-16 and managed to make some point gains, but the Miners won 25-23 again.

Mission Oak lost a lot of their steam in the fourth set. They weren’t hustling for balls while El Diamante continued their fairly consistent pass-set-hit combos. As the Hawks faltered, the Miners kept their energy going. El Diamante finished off Mission Oak with a score of 25-12.

“I feel like we got ahead of ourselves and took that win and didn’t really focus,” Gauna said, “but I feel like they’ll come out next time and definitely give it their all.”

Mission Oak will give it their all on Aug. 25 at home against Kennedy.

“This team is so much fun to work with,” Clyburne said. “We’re going to have a good time this year.”

The Miners will play at Tulare Union on Aug. 25.

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