Hilmar volleyball came into Tuesday's CIF SJS Division-IV playoffs confident. The Yellowjackets had won 22 of their last 24 games, 14 of which came in straight sets. After their defeat of the visiting Summerville Bears, the 'Jackets have another straight set victory under their belts.
The Bears made the ‘Jackets earn every point, however, as Hilmar started out sluggish in the first match and then struggled in the second. Hilmar regained its momentum after a crucial timeout from head coach Patti Harris, and was able to end with a straight set win (25-8, 25-19, and 25-19).
“Summerville did a good job. Our passing wasn’t so good; we were really flat there during the middle of the match, but our team is always consistent. They keep the pressure on, they don’t drop their game really,” Harris said.
The Hilmar squad — that is made up of only nine players — came out ready to roll in the third set with the help of Brittney Fielder dominating the interior, along with a tremendous effort from libero Valerie Ewing, who topped out with 31 digs.
Coach Harris knows that with a confident and experienced squad like hers it will be tough to keep the motivation intact, day in and day out, however, she feels that this team knows what to do when they have to go out and compete.
“We got tough games coming no matter who we play. It is tough to keep these girls motivated because they are just volleyball players. They know what they need to do when they’re out there,” Harris said. “The girls are very serious when they get on the court; they got their games faces and they know the meaning of team and how to play together and win.”
Emily Baptista led the team with 11 kills and three aces. Haylee Pearce added on her 32 assists, while Fielder had three blocks. Ewing topped out with a game-high 31 digs.
“This team has played many games this season and this team knows each other and trusts each other and has helped to get to where they are at because they are all really close,” Harris said. “I knew we would be good and I made the schedule tough and we got here; the girls are a great group and I am very proud of them.”
Hilmar will host the winner of the Ripon Christian and Amador matchup at 7 p.m. on Thursday in round two.