Monache beats Porterville in regular-season finale

Monache’s London Haynes spikes the ball against Porterville. The Marauders finish the regular season with an overall record of 18-10 and an 8-2 record in the East Yosemite League.(Kason Clark)

Marauders defeat the Panthers in four sets for the season sweep and their 16th straight win in the series; Marauders finish second in the East Yosemite League with an 8-2 league record

PORTERVILLE – There’s nothing quite like a rivalry match to end the regular season, especially in the cross-town rivalry between Monache and Porterville volleyball. On Thursday night, the two teams met again at Bill Sharman Gymnasium as Porterville tried to win its first match in the series since 2014.

But history repeated itself on Oct. 19 as the Monache Marauders defeated the Panthers, 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 25-17). With the win, the Marauders have now won their 16th straight match against the Panthers and have now completed the season sweep for this fall.

“It feels pretty good keeping that streak alive,” Monache outside hitter Tatiana Quinones said about once again defeating Porterville.

“It’s just awesome and it’s a great feeling,” Monache head coach Rosalia Quinones said about the season sweep. “It’s always a hard fought battle and it’s bittersweet because these girls are friends and they grew up together playing volleyball.”

With the win over Porterville to end the regular season, the Marauders finished the year with an overall record of 18-10 and they finished second in the East Yosemite League with a league record of 8-2. While the Marauders had their growing pains throughout the fall, Rosalia was pleased with their improvement over the course of the year.

“Overall, I am very proud of the girls. It was a great team effort with nothing but good stuff,” Rosalia said. “We have a young team and we grew. It had been a tough season adjusting and getting these girls to believe in themselves and their talents.”

Several Marauders demonstrated their growth in the win over the Panthers. Tatiana led her team with 19 kills while also recording 15 digs. Middle hitter London Haynes also played well with 13 kills, nine digs and three blocks for the Marauders. Setter Alisha Verdejo made an impact with 49 assists and 17 digs in the victory.

The Marauders got off to a hot start taking a 6-2 lead in the first set. The Panthers found some momentum as they came back and then gave the Marauders a battle throughout the contest. Neither team was able to grab control as they settled for a 21-21 tie late in the game.

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Porterville’s Ryleigh Schoonover spikes the ball against Monache. With their loss to Monache, the Panthers finish the regular season with an overall record of 23-9 and a 6-4 record in the East Yosemite League. (Kason Clark)

The Panthers scored to take a 22-21 lead and put themselves in position to win. But the Marauders responded with a 4-1 run to win it, 25-23, to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Despite trailing late in the game, Tatiana and her teammates just got in a rhythm to pull out the win.

“We just came together and we pulled it off,” Tatiana said. “We knew how to execute every single ball. We would pass, set and hit every single ball.”

The second was another competitive contest between the Marauders and the Panthers. About halfway through the game, it was even with a 13-13 tie between the two teams. Looking to even up the match, the Panthers went on an 11-1 run to take a 24-14 lead. Monache responded with a 5-0 run, but Porterville scored the set point to win, 25-19, to tie the match.

The Panthers then held the lead through most of the third. Late in the set, Porterville led, 21-17, with a chance to win and take the lead in the match. But the Marauders went on a 6-2 run to knot things up at 23-23.

The Marauders and Panthers exchanged points en route to a 24-24 tie. After trailing through most of the game, the Marauders completed the comeback with two straight points to win it, 26-24, for a 2-1 lead in the match.

“We just came together as a team and put it all together,” Tatianna said about the comeback.

Looking to close out the night, the Marauders jumped out to an 11-7 lead in the fourth. Unlike previous sets, the Panthers failed to respond as the Marauders pulled away for the 25-17 victory to win the match.

Now that the regular season is over, the Marauders are now preparing for the postseason. While the Marauders have had a solid season, Rosalia knows the Marauders still have plenty of work ahead of them if they want to go on a run.

“We hope to continue growing and working things out,” Rosalia said. “We have the potential to go far but we’re just trying to keep these girls moving and perfecting those out-of-system plays and staying in games.”

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