Back to back. That’s what the girls at Hilmar High are chanting after winning this season’s Trans Valley League Championship on Wednesday. With a 2-1 defeat of Ripon High, the Yellowjackets cemented their place as TVL title holders and officially opened the gates for another trip into the post-season.
“It’s a pretty good feeling to pull it off,” Hilmar head coach Louie Bettencourt said. “They deserved it; they worked hard. I’m very happy with them.”
The completed sweep over the Indians marked the ‘Jackets’ fifth straight win. Kinsey Pettigrew got the ball rolling with a 13 yard shot in the 20th minute to put Hilmar up 1-0. Teammate Jaimee Rocha got in on the action eight minutes later with a netted shot from 20 yards out, giving her team a two goal lead heading into halftime.
With Wednesday’s performance, Pettigrew finished as Hilmar’s leading scorer on the season with 17 goals. Rocha finished as the team’s third leading scorer with 15 goals right behind Oliviah Gemperle who finished with 16.
“She’s been solid. She hustles and she’s been really good to have, but the best thing about her is she’s only a sophomore,” Bettencourt said of Pettigrew.
Ripon responded with a goal late in the second half but were unable to make a play for the tie.
It has yet to be announced who Hilmar’s first post-season opponent will be but after falling short in the semi-finals of last season’s tournament, the ‘Jackets and Bettencourt are determined to make another run for the final.
“Just because we won league, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s single elimination in the playoffs so we’re at the beginning again,” Bettencourt said. “I keep telling them the same stuff, ‘you got to work hard and hopefully you get rewarded.’
“I don’ want to let the cat out of the bag yet, though. I’m hoping we go all the way to the end,” he added.