El Diamante moves to first in WYL with win over Pioneers
After knocking off Redwood, the Miners continue their dominant season
By Jermaine Johnson II @Jerm_10
VISALIA – Last year the Miners were swept by the Rangers after going 8-0 against their other league foes. Things are much different this year after they defeated Redwood 11-9 last Tuesday.
This is one of the games that El Diamante circles when they receive their season schedule, so getting the victory was a significant achievement. For head coach David Mitchell, the win was bittersweet as he used to play and coach at Redwood. But he said it was a huge win for the Miners since it has been nearly 10 years since they last defeated the Rangers.
“It’s between Redwood and us at the top of our league at this point and in order to get past them is a huge achievement” Miner head coach David Mitchell said. “Earlier in the season we played some Division I teams similar to Redwood and we lost badly. I think it was an eye-opener for [my team] that they needed to put in more work.”
The work paid off, specially on defense as they held Redwood to just two points in the first quarter. They had an 8-3 lead heading into halftime.
“They weren’t expecting how hard we would be on defense and how hard we’d execute,” said Mitchell. “In the second half they got some good goals and were coming back hard, but their offense wasn’t prepared for our defense.”
The Rangers made some key adjustments at half time and came out strong in the third quarter with three goals. Their defense tightened up and only trailed 8-6 heading into the fourth quarter. The Miners scored quickly but Redwood responded almost immediately. The two teams were going back and forth with the score stuck at 10-8 before El Diamante scored a key goal towards the end of the quarter which essentially iced the game for them. They held on to win 11-9. When talking about his team’s resilience during Redwood’s late push, Mitchell paused then smiled and couldn’t have been more proud of his players.
“We didn’t score one goal in the third quarter, and all of a sudden we stepped it up,” he said. “We missed some goals and I thought they may cost us in the end but fortunately they stepped up even harder and closed the game down.”
The Miners are now 4-0 in the West Yosemite League, and have positioned themselves as a favorite to finish at the top. However, there are a lot more goals to play. Despite the big win over the Rangers, they know that the job isn’t finished.
“Our first goal is to win league and this takes us a long way to it,” Mitchell said. “We’d rather not share it with Redwood, we want to go beat them at their pool and that’s going to be really hard because they’re strong there too.”
The Miners and Rangers will play again in the second to last game of season on Oct 24.