The 2016 Turlock varsity volleyball team is already marked as the most successful team in program history and Wednesday's 3-0 sweep over Palo Alto in the Division I CIF State tournament even further cemented that legacy.
From the start, the Bulldogs looked like a team which had moved past their section title woes and went on to play consistent ball while executing the game plan over Palo Alto in a straight sets sweep, 25-19, 25-22 and 25-23.
“Honestly it’s pretty crazy how no one has done that in school history,” said Turlock's Jadyn Tubbs. “We had to come out with the mindset that it’s just another game, no matter what we have to come out with the same mindset, so we had to keep focused that we can win this game.”
Well they did and it also came with the help of setter Julia Handy (Arizona) along with Tubbs’ (Pacific) ability to leap over the net and drive forcefully for kills upon kills.
“I am really proud of this team. We had a goal at the beginning of the season which was to play our best volleyball every game and I think we did that,” said Handy. “Making it to Nor-Cal is a huge accomplishment for us and we are going to try and play our best game every night to see how far we can take us.”
History was made once again for Turlock after the Bulldogs captured their first state playoff victory in program history, but it wasn't just a win, it was a sweep, and head coach Amber Lugo couldn't be any more proud following their section title loss to Pitman on Saturday.
“Like we always say ‘back to the drawing board’ and that is what we did. They were going to keep bringing the ball back and we were going to have to hold them and they did it,” said Lugo. “Feels great — the girls played beautifully and I am stoked... very excited to see how far we can take this.”
Tubbs was great with 11 kills, while Bella Bush added eight kills of her own. Handy, along with Audrey Dykzeul, Sophie Bigler and Jazmyn Tubbs accounted for 17 of the teams 36 kills.
Handy was once again magical after the junior setter added a game-high 32 assists to go with her block.
“I think our goal this season has not been to worry about the past,” said Handy. “So once we lost the CCC game, we saw that was over with and had a new life in playoffs.”
It looked close to perfect despite a few mishandles on some dig attempts from the 'Dogs but they still kept their composure throughout.
In the opening set, Palo Alto tied it 18-18 after trailing, then the 'Dogs swarmed into a 6-1 run to close out the first and go up early.
Turlock trailed by as many as three points in the second set but bounced back to topple Palo Alto with a three point win.
“If anything beyond 100 percent exists, that is what they give every day,” said Lugo. “We want to keep going, that's the goal.”
The Bulldogs kept the same intensity heading into the third as they took over the lead and never let it go, powering in the end with a two-point set victory.
Next Turlock will travel on the road to take on No. 4 Redwood at 7 p.m. Saturday.