Ask a young athlete what it takes to succeed in a sport and they might reference physical ability and talent. Pose that same question to a coach and you're likely to get a different response; an answer regarding competitive desire and will.
The boys water polo team of Pitman High did well last season, finishing in the upper tier of the Central California Conference. This year the Pride hopes to return to that position but to do so they will have to rally their team around first year head coach Ryan Bullard and transition into his new system.
Turlock Christian High has been known to warm up slowly on the volleyball court, a characteristic that can sometimes take the air out from under the Eagles' wings. Such was the case on Thursday when TC hosted Le Grand High. The Bulldogs took advantage of the slow starting girls of TC, claiming victory in straight sets (14-25, 21-25, and 17-25).
So far so good for Pitman High's volleyball team who bested Golden Valley High 3-1 (19-25, 25-13, 25-20, and 25-20) on Thursday to start the season 2-0.
Turlock High's volleyball team hosted Buhach Colony High on Tuesday in the first Central California Conference match of the season. The Bulldogs and Thunder split the opening two games but Buhach's presence in the middle overwhelmed Turlock, leading to a 3-2 victory (21-25, 25-22, 13-25, 17-25).
The Turlock High girls water polo team was poised to claim the Central California Conference crown last season but in one day it was snatched away, by an undefeated Merced High team. The Bulldogs' sole CCC loss of the season left a bad taste, so this season they're back to return the favor.
Pitman High's girls water polo team had to rebuild last year, a fact that was reflected in the Pride's one-win season. Now, head coach Michaela Solario and her girls are back in the pool and eager to rise above last season's foundational toils as they eye the Bulldogs and the rest of the Central California Conference.
Hilmar High volleyball got out to a slow start against Los Banos High on Monday but quickly turned things around to beat the Tigers three games to one (20-25, 25-23, 25-23, and 25-18).
The Hilmar High boys soccer team was in control during the first half of the Yellowjackets' Trans Valley League home opener against Hughson High on Monday but was unable to finish off the Huskies. After jumping out to a 2-0 halftime lead, Hilmar allowed three second half goals as mistakes and miscues led to a 3-3 tie between the TVL foes.
Pitman High picked up where they left off last week, trouncing Modesto High 49-6 with a 405 yard offensive effort on Friday.
In the game of football talent can only take you so far. Turlock High learned that lesson first hand on Thursday when Enochs High rolled into town and racked up 300 yards of offense in a 42-21 victory over the Bulldogs (1-2).
Delhi High failed to reproduce its high octane rushing attack from a week ago against Riverbank High on Friday. The Hawks ran for only 131 rushing yards against a tough Bruins defense, a far cry from the more than 400 yards they produced last Friday. In the end Riverbank prevailed 28-7.
As a first year head coach you can either flourish or struggle. Some would say the first year path depends on a coach's ability to bring a team together and set a clear goal but the truth is the players and their will tend to be the determining factors.
The girls tennis team at Pitman High accomplished a stunning feat last year, winning more matches than all of the program's previous seasons combined. Things are different this year, however, as nine of last year's top players have moved on from Pitman as well as Jeff Hayes, the Pride's former head coach and tennis mainstay.
Ken Wynn has spent the past five years as an assistant for Turlock Christian High's volleyball team, helping guide the Eagles to a state appearance and numerous post-season appearances. This season Wynn continues his work on the court with TC but he does so with a different title preceding his name - head coach.
In a complete turnaround from last year's disappointing start, the Denair High boys basketball team cruised its way out of the opening round of their home tournament with a convincing 52-29 win over Tioga High on Thursday night.
The Turlock Christian Eagles did not start off the Denair High basketball tournament how they had hoped, but instead fell into the consolation bracket after dropping the first game to Hughson in the opening round on Thursday night, 50-73.
Delhi High's boys basketball team pulled double duty on Thursday. First they put their brains to the test for finals, then they kicked off the Denair Holiday Classic with a game against Linden High.
Denair High nearly upset Ripon High on the wrestling mat Wednesday night, out-pinning the Indians four to six, but 18 points from a trio of forfeits was too much for the Coyotes to overcome. With holes at the 106-pound, 160-pound and Heavyweight weight classes, Denair dropped its first dual meet of the season, 30-41.
The Pride of Pitman came into their second game of the 38th annual Frank Godinez tournament against Laguna Creek - which had to forfeit their first round game due to Thursday's storm -with hopes of turning things around after a crushing first round loss to Beyer High.
Another solid effort from Turlock High on the court has landed the Bulldogs in the finals of the Frank Godinez Boys Basketball Tournament for the third year in a row.
Things are finally shaping up for Denair High boys basketball coach RJ Henderson, with the help of assistant head coach Garett Elliott and the commitment from this year's team.
With football being such a rich and successful tradition at Hilmar High, it seems like the basketball program takes the back seat - especially after coming away with only one winning season since 2007.
Pitman High volleyball has been synonymous with dominance in 2014. The Pride steamrolled nearly every opponent they faced this season with its combination of size, power and speed. And when a team rose to the occasion to provide Pitman with a challenge, its girls seemed to persevere through sheer force of will.
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