Boys volleyball is still a new sport at Hilmar High and the Yellowjackets are finding their post-pandemic groove.
The Hilmar boys volleyball team took home a hard-fought non-league victory over Waterford on Monday, but then lost a clutch league matchup against Ripon High on Wednesday.
In Monday’s game, the teams went back and forth with the Yellowjackets winning 3-2 sets to take home the win against Waterford.
“Tonight, was a solid match-up between two teams consisting of players that have learned to play volleyball by having access to it in high school,” said head coach Fatima Handy. “It's been a great opportunity to grow the sport. Volleyball is a game of momentum and we try to prevent teams from going on scoring runs. We played well when we executed our game plan and were prepared mentally to move to the ball instead of just reacting to it.”
The first game didn’t start off hot for the Yellowjackets. They were down 2-5 early in the set. Hilmar kept pace though and took the lead at 16-15. Jason Moniz had some timely spikes to keep the Yellowjackets in front and they won the first set 25-21.
The second set was a reversal of sorts from the first with the Yellowjackets taking the early lead and Waterford coming back. Waterford took a 23-18 lead and it looked like they were going to take an easy win. Hilmar didn’t lose their fight though, and battled all the way back to be only down 22-24. They spiked the ball out of bounds the next possession though and Waterford evened the score at 1-1.
The third set was handled by Waterford relatively easily. They took control early and, even though Hilmar had their runs, never let them take the lead. They took advantage of Hilmar’s mistakes and took a 2-1 lead.
It looked like Hilmar’s night was coming close to the end when Waterford opened up an 8-1 lead in the fourth set. Hilmar settled down though and was able to pick their spots. They took advantage of Waterford’s mistakes while limiting theirs to come back and win the set 25-20, and tied the game at 2-2 to send it to the deciding match.
Hilmar took control early in the final set and had some nice spikes Ethan Smith to put the pressure on Waterford. They ended controlling the pace throughout and won the final set 15-10 and took home the 3-2 victory.
“We were able to focus on winning one point at a time in the fifth set,” said Handy. “It was a total team effort and everyone focused on doing their job. Daniel and Saul picked up the shots, Adam and Lexton set up the offense, Jacob and A.J. won the net jousts, Ethan and Jason took swings to terminate long rallies and Tyler and Milan put up a solid block. It went our way tonight, but Waterford deserves credit for playing a competitive match.”
The Yellowjackets played Ripon on Wednesday to decide second place in the Trans Valley League. Both teams were 2-3 and it was the final game of the season. Hilmar ended up losing in straight sets 0-3 and finished league play in third place at 2-4. They have an 8-13 record overall.