The Desert Mountain League finale between Lone Pine and Mammoth lived up to its billing on Thursday. The Lady Eagles took five games to maintain a perfect season record.
Lone Pine ends the regular season 14-0 in league and 23-3 overall.
It was standing-room-only at the Lone Pine gym. The bleachers erupted in “Go Eagles,” “Go Huskies” chants that could have been heard on top of Mt. Whitney.
With a 3-0 sweep of the Huskies in mid-October, the Eagles were surprised by a 9-5 Mammoth team intent on being their season spoiler.
“Mammoth’s aggressive play and determination almost got the best of us tonight,” said coach Mel Joseph. “We took a long time to settle into our game.”
Game 1 began with an intensity that carried through the two-plus-hour match. The teams stayed within 1-2 points of each other until Mammoth pulled ahead 12-18.
The Eagles chipped away at the lead but could not overcome the ferocious Huskies attack. The game ended 21-25 in Mammoth’s favor.
Neither team could gain an early advantage in Game 2. Lone Pine pulled ahead by 4 at 15-11 during Nicole Tweedy’s serve, but the Huskies charged back, drawing to within 2 points at 19-17.
Larixta Ramirez took over at the service line for the Eagles and closed Game 2 out with a 25-17 win.
Mammoth found holes in Lone Pine’s defense; Lone Pine forced Mammoth errors, but the teams stayed even through the early volleys of Game 3. Then it turned into a replay of Game 1 with the Huskies putting too many points on the board for the Eagles to overcome. Game 3 ended 21-25, Huskies.
“Putting together a complete game did not happen for Lone Pine until the fourth game,” said Joseph.
The Eagles pulled ahead early in Game 4 and stayed there. Mammoth’s lethal outside hitter had been playing havoc with the Eagles, until Game 4.
The Eagles led by 7 points at 12-5, and never let the Huskies draw close. Game 4 ended 25-16, forcing the tie-breaker.
“In Game 5 it was close,” said Joseph, “until a Husky error put the Lady Eagles up by one and that’s all that was needed. Lone Pine regained its intensity and composure by serving two straight points to win the match.
“Mammoth always plays us tough no matter what is on the line. This win will definitely go down as one of the greatest.”
Honored before the game were seniors Eryn Sellberg, Nicole Tweedy, Ariana Luque, Ruth Serna and Veronica Carreon.
CIF pairings will be announced on Sunday. Lone Pine will host a First Round game on Tuesday.
Ariana Luque: 17/17 serving, 2 aces, 2 kills, 18 assists, 8 digs
Ruth Serna: 16/18 serving, 3 aces, 10 kills 1 block, 17 digs
Larixta Ramirez: 21/22 serving, 2 aces, 3 kills, 11 digs
Eryn Sellberg: 19/19 serving, 1 ace, 12 kills, 19 assists, 6 digs
Nicole Tweedy: 9/10 serving, 1 ace, 12 kills, 10 blocks, 14 digs
Veronica Carreon: 11/12 serving, 1 ace, 19 digs
Contributions off the bench: Rachel Martin, Victoria Saldana and Nancy Niepagen.
Lone Pine JV defeated Mammoth: 25-21, 21-25, 15-12
JV record: 11-3 DML; 11-5 overall
Desarae Coats: 100% serving, 5 kills 7 assists, 3 digs
Brittney Tweedy: 4 aces, 10 kills, 4 digs
Amanda Barlese: 100% serving, 2 kills, 7 digs
Shawni Patton: 100% serving, 2 aces, 2 kills, 3 digs. 6 assists
Alyssa Lienemann: 2 aces, 3 kills, 3 digs
Lizeth Serna: 100% serving
Briana Perez: 3 aces , 3 digs
Contributions off the bench: Maureen Cariou, Allyson Mills, Genesee Lucia and Kayla Martinez.