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Bulldog volley returns to D-I Section Finale
Turlock topples Pleasant Grove to advance to Section Final
Turlock Bulldogs Riley Cantwell and Jazmyn Tubbs block a kill attempt from Pleasant Grove during Tuesdays 3-1 win to advance into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I Championship game. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The 2017 Turlock High varsity volleyball team has a lot to be proud of after they toppled No. 7 Pleasant Grove in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I semifinal game from home on Tuesday in a 3-1 final, which earned them a spot back in the D-I Championship game, the same place they were just a year ago.

“We played our hearts out and we came out on top, nothing to be sorry about there,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo.

“Even since our freshman year that has been our goal, to get a blue banner for our school. We are looking forward to playing in that game, it’s going to be a big game,” said Turlock’s Jadyn Tubbs. “… we can come back from any deficit after that game with Pitman.”

The Bulldogs of Turlock improve to 32-8 for the year and have won six straight matches heading into the Section finale.

This also marks the sixth straight year that at least one school from the town of Turlock will advance to a Section Championship game. Turlock Christian won the Division-VI bracket from 2012-14. Pitman won three straight D-I Section banners from 2014-16 and Turlock were runners-up last year.

“It is the same thing, taking one match at a time has been our focus, we never even mentioned the next game… nope,” said Lugo.

Tuesday’s semifinal was also a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal matchup when Turlock upset PG in a 3-0 win back on Nov. 3, 2016.

Turlock also beat PG in a preseason match that ended with a 2-1 win for the ‘Dogs back on Sept. 30. This time around, Turlock didn’t take PG lightly, despite a slow start.

Turlock won the first set 25-22, and followed it up with a 25-17 victory to take a 2-0 lead.

They fell in the third 26-24, after letting a five-point lead slip in the end.

Turlock came back to topple PG in the fourth set, 25-12.

“We played against them earlier in the season and we know they play with emotion and that is kind of how we are too,” said Tubbs. “But we just had to keep them from getting those runs early on, which is kind of what we did but we came back and executed.”

Julia Handy finished with a game-high 39 assists and added nine digs to go with five aces and a kill.

Jazmyn Tubbs tallied a team-high 16 kills and added 13 digs. Mary Katherine Padilla finished with three aces, 10 kills and six digs. Jadyn Tubbs tallied a team-high 15 digs to go with her five aces and three assists.

“Luckily, we have been to the finals already last year and we know what it feels like to be in high pressure like that big of a game before so we will know how to handle the pressure,” Tubbs added.

Turlock will travel to take on the No. 1 seed St. Francis from their home court at 8 p.m. Saturday.

“I don’t understand why we are playing at St. Francis when it should be neutral, makes no sense to me,” Lugo added. “We will tell our girls what we always say, if they hear them cheer, they are cheering for you.”

“I get that it is a home game and they will have a lot of people, but I trust in the Dog Pound, they are going to be just as loud as them,” Tubbs added.