Pitman High's volleyball team got a taste of championship glory for the first time last year and decided it wanted more in 2012. The Pride (15-0 CCC) not only achieved their goal, they set the bar higher; improving on last year's record with an undefeated Central California Conference campaign.
There was less than three minutes left in regulation, Turlock High led Johansen High 1-0 and the Knights were getting desperate. The majority of Tuesday's Division II SJS playoff match was spent in a virtual stalemate with the ball frequenting both ends of the field, but it could all be over if Turlock's defense could hold strong.
There was a time, nearly a decade ago, when Turlockers had only one football team to root for and an out of town rivalry with Ceres High to look forward to each year. Then, in 2004, things suddenly changed. Pitman High was introduced to the Central California Conference, ushering in a new era of football to the Valley and creating an in-town rivalry culminating in a late-October Harvest Bowl.
Turlock High matched last year's performance with a 7th place finish at this season's San Joaquin Section Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton. The Central California Conference Champion Bulldogs finished the day with a total of 466 strokes, beating half the field of 14 high school teams.
Delhi hosted Turlock Christian High Friday night for the Hawks' homecoming game.
Turlock High entered its final home game of the season facing a daunting task -the undefeated and league leading Buhach Colony High Thunder. Fresh off a one score loss against Atwater High, the Bulldogs were hoping a Friday night upset would steer their team towards the playoffs, but Buhach had a different plan altogether.
It was the last Central California Conference match of the year on Thursday when Pitman High hosted Turlock High - but for some it was the last of their lifetime, a fact that wasn't lost on the Lady Bulldogs. End game nostalgia resulted in a desire to go out with a bang. Turlock did just that, jumping on the Pride early on its way to a 5-2 victory that just so happened to also clinch a spot in the Division I San Joaquin Section playoffs as the CCC's third seed.
There was no shortage of motivation Thursday night when Turlock High traveled across town to face Pitman High in the final water polo match of the Central California Conference season. In addition to the in-town rivalry, the Bulldogs were eager to erase the memories from their last meeting with the Pride. Above all, however, Turlock wanted a win to keep its post-season hopes alive.
It was a shaky beginning to the Central California Conference season for Turlock High this year. In their first six games the Bulldogs surprisingly went 1-3-2, leading many in the league to believe the defending champs were in decline.
Hilmar High's hopes of claiming a share of the Trans Valley League volleyball championship evaporated Tuesday night when unbeaten Escalon High rolled into town. In a match reminiscent of the rivals' meeting earlier in the year, the Cougars beat the Yellowjackets 3-1 (14-25, 26-24, 25-27, and 25-19). Although missing out on the league title was a bitter pill to swallow, giving up their only losses of the season to Escalon was even tougher for Hilmar.
Turlock High's girls claimed their 9th consecutive Central California Conference Championship with an impressive showing at the Championship Tournament at the Merced Country Club. The Bulldogs finished the day with a team score of 439, 27 strokes in front of second place Merced High. Rival Pitman High finished third with 505.
Pitman High's Britney Leon spent last season competing on the tennis court in the doubles bracket but her sights were always set on singles glory. She worked on her game through the summer and when the 2012 season began she found herself representing the Pride as the number one singles player, positioning herself as the unquestioned leader of her team.
Turlock and Pitman High took part in the Delong Invitational in Stockton and Modesto this past weekend, their last tournament of the 2012 water polo season. The Bulldogs competed in the A bracket and the Pride competed in the B bracket but both finished 3-2 after two days, giving the teams a dose of confidence before their final cross-town matchup and the end of the Central California Conference season.
Friday night's Southern League matchup between Turlock Christian (3-5), and Denair (1-7), dealt TC its fifth straight loss as Denair picked up its second consecutive win.
With 5:47 left in the first half, Hilmar's Breck Smith went in from 2-yards out and the Yellowjackets added the point after, trimming the Escalon Cougars' lead to 14-7. Unfortunately for Hilmar, that was as close as they would get, and the host Cougars put the clamps on with a decisive 33-7 win on Friday night.
In his second year as the head coach for Turlock Christian boys varsity basketball team, Eddie Sai led his team to their second consecutive postseason berth with an 18-10 record last year, but the Eagles unfortunately lost in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Hilmar High wrestling team is coming off a year where they tied for second in the Trans Valley League, however, barely missed a postseason berth after coming two points shy.
Turlock High has dusted off its wrestling gear and is back on the mat for the 2014 winter season. After finishing third in the Central California Conference last year and graduating two state qualifiers, the Bulldogs return with a handful of experienced wrestlers and a crop of fresh faces as they aim to take league and return to state once again.
The sport of water polo has thrived in Turlock and the rest of the Central Valley since its introduction roughly 40 years ago by the late Steve Feaver.
The Pitman High varsity wrestling team is coming off the most successful season in school history after winning its first Central California Conference title in 2013-14 and posting a 12-1 overall record.
Trans Valley League
Coming off a devastating defeat to Sonora High in the CIF Division-IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championship, Hilmar High's volleyball team was hoping to bounce back in the CIF Northern California State Tournament but things ended quickly for the Yellowjackets who lost in straight sets, 0-3.
Four days after winning the CIF Division I Sac-Joaquin Section championship in one of its hardest matches of the season, Pitman High played Oakland Tech High in what could be argued was its easiest match.
The Turlock Christian High volleyball team is moving on to the Northern California State Tournament semifinal after defeating Fall River in the opening round of the CIF Division-VI Nor Cal State Tournament, 3-1, on Tuesday.
Pitman High volleyball etched a place for itself in Sac-Joaquin Section history Friday night with its first ever Division I championship victory.
The Hilmar High volleyball team went into Friday's Section championship game against Sonora looking for a very different outcome than last year's matchup. The Yellowjackets left the UC Davis court disappointed, however, because for the second straight year Sonora outplayed Hilmar to take the banner.
Winning a Section title isn't easy, but the Turlock Christian High volleyball team makes it seem so, especially after taking home three consecutive banners.
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