In his first season as head coach for the Hilmar High varsity girls soccer team, Doug Delay led his Yellowjacket squad to an undefeated year in the Trans-Valley League, winning the title outright and making a semifinal appearance in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V tournament.
Their extremely competitive season came to a halt against Capital Christian in the semifinal round as they fell 3-1 on the road, however, the team graduated only three starting seniors and is returning a bulk of their starters coming back for an even hungrier new year.
“We are returning a good group, obviously we missed three players this year, but I feel confident with the group we have,” said Delay. “I feel good where we are starting. I’ve also been around soccer enough to see a new group and we have to get off on the right foot with training, with our momentum and our attitude.”
Hilmar has the luxury of returning the Most Valuable Player in the TVL last season in Emily Vieira.
Along Vieira will be a herd of returners, including Juliann Machado, Sarah Alvarez, Caressa Barros, Betzy Chavez, Cheyanne Cabral, Korey Pettigrew, Michaela Petersen and goalkeeper Mikayla Schmidt.
“I like the group we are getting back so I am very happy with that,” said Delay. “One step at a time, one day at a time and one game at a time and then we will see where we end up. We certainly don't want to count something we haven't earned, but we are going to work hard to get there.”
Last season, Hilmar went 17-4-4 overall and earned a TVL record of 10-0-2.
“When you have a season like we had in the TVL last year maybe you may feel like you are there, but as a coach I know we are not,” said Delay. “So, it will be very important to get back to where we were last year, we have to take care of business at hand and that is the TVL first.”
Hilmar will open up the season with a home game against Los Banos at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.