Nearly 80 percent of the Hilmar High gym was filled for the Yellowjackets’ official home opener of the season when they hosted last year’s Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section runners-up, the Turlock Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs got the better end in the first two sets, winning by two points, then closed out their victory with a six-point win in the third set to take the straight sets sweep over the Yellowjackets, 3-0 (26-24, 25-23 and 25-19).
“Overall, I think we did well, but our serves, we missed eight serves tonight,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris. “That hurt us and Turlock plays great ball, they have great hitters, they are really smart. I just think that our girls missed the serves, which didn’t help and didn’t play our game at times.”
“Hilmar has got a great squad and when we shook hands, I told them I look forward to see what they will do in playoffs because I think they will go far this year,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “Also, my squad has so much fight, they never give up.”
Turlock was up against the wall in the first two sets after Hilmar took a lead late in the first set.
Hilmar led 23-21, before Turlock went on a 5-1 run to close out the first.
The second set was nearly the same, as Turlock took the biggest lead of the set with four points.
“Just getting used to things, early in the season, big crowd, just need to take care of the ball,” said Lugo. “We just didn’t control the ball like we usually do, a lot of unforced errors, lot of serving errors.”
Hilmar managed to rally and they cut the lead to 22-21.
The late rally ended with a two-point victory for Turlock, which went up 2-0.
“We had our moments when we came back from the deficit and that is always good to see when you’re a team that can do that, not give up, so we saw some positives,” said Harris.
The third set was controlled by Turlock from the onset, which took a lead of 16-6 at one point.
Hilmar came back to cut the lead to 24-19, but the ‘Dogs captured the final point for the straight sets win.
“I’ve never seen it in their faces where they give up, we had players that were frustrated but they never gave up,” said Lugo added. “Now we have a big tournament coming up.”
Turlock is off to a 3-0 start to the year, having won all three games in straight sets.
Hilmar volley falls for just the third time in 10 games played, going to an overall record of 7-3.
“It was our first official home game and there was a great crowd as well, a lot of people, and our nerves are getting better as we carry forward, but overall we are working through it,” Harris added.
Hilmar’s Mariah Ahid and Olivia Peterson each had six kills. Hannah Pearce added 17 assists. Madison Aguiniga and Makayla Fontes each added a pair of aces and sophomore Julia Gonsalves finished with 17 digs.
Turlock will next travel to Stockton to play Lincoln at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Hilmar will next host Beyer at 6 p.m. Thursday.