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Rangers continue perfect season

Rangers continue perfect season

Redwood moved to 31-0 after defeating El Diamante in 4 sets

By Jermaine Johnson II @Jerm_10

VISALIA – The Rangers are enjoying arguably their best start to a season ever. They have defeated every single opponent through six weeks, and are 31-0.

During that run, they’ve only lost four sets while winning 71. Last Wednesday, they moved to 4-0 in the West Yosemite League after a 3-1 win over cross-town rival El Diamante.

It was easy to tell that both of these schools were eager for a win over the other. The energy in the gym was intense and the stands were filled to the top with supporters of both squads. The two teams played each other very closely which made the atmosphere even more intense as the night went on. During the first set, the two teams went back and forth and were tied at 20. Both teams took advantage of every little mistake.

The Rangers were able to go on a run and close out the first set with a 25-22 win. Set two was just as competitive and energetic. The two teams went back and forth trading leads before Redwood put together a run to go up 17-14. At that point, Miner head coach Ken Clyburne called a timeout that proved to be very beneficial.

His team went on to tie the set at 23. Despite two separate timeouts by Redwood, the Miners handed the Rangers their fourth set loss of the season with a 25-23 victory.

Redwood’s defense came up big in the final set with some key blocks, and allowed only 16 points. Photo by Jermaine Johnson.

“We started slow but we had this wave of momentum and won right at the end of that game” said Clyburne. “It was exciting and I thought we had a chance in games three and four.”

Redwood head coach Alana Montgomery knew that this match would be a tough test for her team.

“When you are playing against last year’s league champions and Division II Valley runner ups, each set will be tough,” she said. “Every game that we play in league is a test and we hope that our team responds to difficult matches with focus and determination.”

That loss in the second set seemed to wake up the Rangers. They got out to a 16-11 start but El Diamante would not go down without a fight. They went on a strong 11-5 run to take a 22-21 lead.

The two teams traded points and timeouts which led to a strong close out by Redwood. The Rangers went on to win the set 25-23.

El Diamante got out to a better start in the fourth set as they tried to tie up the match. They were up 12-11 before Redwood’s offense caught fire and scored five straight points. The Rangers were up 16-12 and didn’t relinquish the lead. They won the set 25-16 to end the match with a victory.

Coach Clyburne believes his team did not respond well to the intensity of the matchup.

“I felt like we played nervous, we let the magnitude of the moment get to us a little bit,” he said. “If you give a team like Redwood with two really good outside hitters the opportunity to just bang balls, they’re going to find some holes.”

Although the Rangers are enjoying a stellar season, their coach is not letting them get complacent.

“We never take any team for granted,” said Montgomery. “We will continue to practice hard and take one match at a time as they are all important and bring different challenges.”

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