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Bulldogs sweep Yellowjackets in preseason meeting
Turlock off to 3-0 start; Hilmar drops to 3-6
Mariah Ahid and Erin Benning of Hilmar go up and block a kill attempt from Turlock's Isabella Bush. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Turlock varsity volleyball is off to a 3-0 start for the year after topping Hilmar High (3-6) in their preseason matchup at home on Wednesday.

Not much went right for Hilmar, as the team committed well over a dozen errors for the game, and Turlock had no problem feeding off those mistakes and making them pay for it.

In the end, the Bulldogs cruised through the Yellowjackets in a straight sets win, 25-20, 25-16 and 25-18.

“Could have been tired off a long weekend, but I don’t really know why we didn’t play to our potential,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris. “I don’t think the crowd bothered them. I think they had too many mental errors, missed serves and did silly things.”

“We knew that they had just gotten back from the Reno tournament and had two days of really hard play so they were tuned up,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “We were super pleased with our first set when we had no service errors.”

The duo of Jadyn Tubbs and Julia Handy was as effective as any players on the court on Wednesday night and they made sure their presence was noticed.

Tubbs tallied 11 kills and three aces along with nine digs. Handy finished with a game-high 33 assists and added three blocks.

“Jadyn's ball control is something all coaches dream of,” said Lugo. “That's why she will be a libero in college. Then Julia, her hands are just magic. When those two can set up the play it’s great, but getting the middle and the right side involved... the whole thing is big and I feel we accomplished that.”

Last year's CCC co-champions, Bulldogs, set the tempo of the game with a momentum shift that became evident in the first set.

As the score read 7-4 in favor of Turlock, Hilmar saw themselves still within reach but the Bulldogs surged into a 9-0 run and then eventually led by as many as 10 before Hilmar fought back to cut the deficit to four points.

Turlock eventually nudged the first set win, leaving a struggling Hilmar even more shaken up going into the second.

“We were hitting to the block every time and Turlock had a solid block on the outside which countered us well,” said Harris of the Bulldogs. “I really don't know why we did not play well. We have our moments of greatness, but we have to work on it and we can't have players take a game off.”

Turlock led most of the second set by double digits and eventually topped it off by nine points, ending with a freshman Jazmyn Tubbs kill.

“Props to the other players as well, including our libero, she plays so well. Brett Hanson is a very good player,” said Lugo. “Our goal right now is to try and eliminate our unforced errors. Also moving the ball around and getting everyone involved.”

Turlock was able to get all involved with everyone on the roster got playing time.

The third set was a quick blur that led to a Turlock lead early on to make it 17-9 and eventually the Bulldogs closed it out despite the 'Jackets attempt at a late push.

“Every match shows us what we need to work on and we need to go back to the drawing board and we know what we need to work on for the next game,” Lugo added.

Hilmar's Mariah Ahid finished with nine kills but added eight errors. Hannah Pearce tallied 25 assists and Miranda Gray finished with 12 digs.

Hilmar's next game will be the start of the Trans-Valley League on the road as they take on Mountain House at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The next match for Turlock will be the Oak Ridge tournament at El Dorado Hills taking place this weekend at a time yet to be determined and against an opponent yet to be announced.