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Bulldogs win co-share of CCAL title after defeating Pride
Turlock volleyball
The Turlock High volleyball team celebrates after defeating Pitman High on Monday afternoon from home in a 3-1 final (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

For the second time in the past three seasons, the Turlock High varsity volleyball team clinched a league title. This time it happened at home on Monday, against their crosstown foe, Pitman High, where they toppled them in a 3-1 final to win a share of the Central California Athletic League crown. 

“That is always the goal, I mean every time you start your season, a league title is the goal,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “I am super proud of these girls, a lot of growth over the year and tonight was a great send off for our seniors. We are not done, but to get this win at home with their friends and family was special.” 

Following the win, Turlock’s overall record improves to 24-19 and they close out play in the Central California Athletic League with a 9-1 record. Gregori also closed out the year with a 9-1 CCAL record, earning a share of the title. 

Since the 2015 season, Turlock has won three league titles. 

Turlock won the Central California Conference title in 2015 after a 9-1 record. They went 10-2 in 2016, taking second, only to bounce back in 2017 and clinch the CCC once again with a 12-0 record. 
Turlock also won the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section title in 2017. Pitman won the D-I SJS title from 2014-2016. 

Pitman’s current record is now 15-18 heading into the playoffs and 5-5 in the CCAL. 

Last year, Pitman won the inaugural CCAL title after going 9-1. 

Pitman volleyball
Pitman High’s McKinley King (8) and Taylor Vannest (1) go up for a block against Turlock High’s Jazmyn Tubbs (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

The record also marks the first losing season for the Pride and head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian since the 2008 season when they went 8-18 overall and won just a pair of league games.  

“We are going to the playoffs, but probably will play on the road against a tough team. We are going to have to go in with a positive mindset that either way it will be a great experience for my freshmen and sophomores,” said Pontes-Christian. “At the end of the day, this isn’t the record we wanted, it isn’t what we are used to at Pitman, but I am hopeful for the future and I know that 12 of these players are coming back next year. I have a full team coming back next year, and so I know we are going to do good things.” 

The first set saw Turlock go out with a relentless attack that was smooth and consistent. 

Turlock took a quick five-point lead and never looked back as they secured the 25-11 win in the opening set. 

Once the second set hit, Turlock had their backs against the wall as Pitman began to slowly but surely build and sustain a lead. 

Pitman led in the second by as many as four points, with Turlock staying close despite their large number of errors and mistakes. 

Pitman managed to rally in the final after a 21-21 score saw them notch four unanswered points to win it 25-21. 

The third set saw the longest and most dramatic rallies of the night that also proved to be the most crucial. 

With the score at 2-2, Turlock continued with their miscues and Pitman was playing sound, picking up where they left off in the second. 

By this point, the Pride had built a steady lead and extended it to eight at one point. 

Slowly, but surely, Turlock fought their way back into the game, going from being down 18-10, to tying it at 24-24. 

Turlock outscored Pitman in the end 4-2 as they won the third set, 28-26. 

Turlock won the fourth set, 25-18, securing a share of the CCAL crown with Gregori. 

Next for both is the CIF SJS playoffs. Look on for the latest updates on the brackets.