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Bulldogs edge out Menlo in first round of state tourney
Turlock Volley 1
Turlock High sophomore Mary Katherine Padilla goes up for a kill during Thursdays 3-2 win over Menlo School in the first round of the CIF State Open Division bracket. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

The magical season continues for the Turlock High varsity volleyball team after they toppled No. 6 Menlo School, 3-2, on Thursday night from the Bulldogs gym in the opening round of the CIF State Tournament in the Open Division.

“After watching film, we knew we could beat this team. We knew what we had on our side of the court and we just reset after every play and we knew what we were going after,” said Turlock’s Audrey Dykzeul.

“This gives us confidence and we are taking it one game at a time, for sure we don’t underestimate our opponent. It’s an honor to be in the Open Division,” said Turlock’s Isabella Bush. “We want to take the opportunity as we can and as it was presented to us.”

The Bulldogs took that opportunity and rolled with it, improving their overall record to 34-8 after winning on Thursday.

“They had their hiccups, we had our moments when the belief might have faltered a little bit and then they just got right back in it and they knew they could do this,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “That is all it was after every timeout, we knew we could do it and stick to the game plan.”

Turlock’s gameplan was simple yet effective.

“Do what we do best and take care of the ball on serve receive, and when we did that we were good,” said Lugo. “What it has been all year, to side out quickly and take care of the ball on serve receive and take a swing and take the shot, keep going, don’t ever give up or let the ball hit.”

In the first set, Turlock came out firing away and earned the 25-16 win to take the early lead.

Menlo rallied to win the second set 25-13, followed by another Turlock win in the third, 25-23.

Menlo came back to win the fourth 25-17, which set up a fifth and final set.

The final two sets had both teams and the crowd exited for each point, as momentum swung back and forth.

The Bulldogs eventually sealed the deal with a 15-12 final in the fifth and final set, closing the match with a 5-2 run.

“I feel when we started to fall behind, Julia (Handy) kept telling us to get momentum for the next game and build back up to have in the next game to come back strong,” said Dykzeul.

Turlock finished Thursday’s state playoff game with 65 total digs. Jadyn Tubbs finished with a team-high 20 digs and added an ace and an assist. Jazmyn Tubbs was second on the team with 11 digs and added a team-high 16 kills. Mary Katherine Padilla finished the game with nine kills, two aces and six digs.

Julia Handy capped off the night with a game-high 44 assists. Bush finished the game with 12 kills and two digs. Dykzeul added four kills, two aces and seven digs.

“They were a big team in general. We knew they would hit every ball that got in their way, we just knew they were a good hitting team,” said Bush. “It is really fun because the blocking is fun against good hitters.”

No. 3 Turlock will next advance to the regional semifinal to take on No. 2 Marin Catholic on the road at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“We can play with anyone and we have to believe,” Lugo added.

“We are just going to give it our best game and hopefully we can find some video and see what they are going to give us,” said Dykzeul about facing Marin Catholic which is ranked No. 6 in California according to