Hilmar High’s volleyball squad left no doubt on anybody’s mind as to their abilities on Thursday, as the Yellowjackets were able to capture a win in the second round of the CIF SJS Division-IV playoffs over last year’s section champs, Ripon Christian.
The host Yellowjackets came out firing on all cylinders as they won the first set with ease. But the visiting Knights were not going down without a fight, winning the second set only to lose the next two as the game went four sets, (25-12, 19-25, 26-24 and 25-15).
“We were off a little, made numerous errors, but we still got through it. Ripon Christian is a good team with a great program; it was the first time we played them,” Hilmar head coach Patti Harris said.
Hilmar's quick and fiery start seemed to set the tone for the match, but Ripon Christian came out ready for the second match, winning with ease, 25-19.
The third set was tight, as the ‘Jackets pulled away with a two point victory after struggling and missing 11 serves.
“Overall we came out ready, but slowed down and the second and third we struggled a bit. But then they decided to come out in the fourth on fire,” Harris said. “I felt like they are giving me a heart attack. People think I am calm, but inside I am not; I get very nervous.”
Emily Baptista had 25 kills and Haylee Pearce added 41 assists and six aces. Baptista and Brittany Fielder were able to each have a block and Valerie Ewing topped out with a game-high 27 digs.
The second round win was just another accomplishment for a winning team. Hilmar earned the Trans Valley League title for the first time since 1988.
“This is the best squad, and I just had a feeling we would do well,” Harris said. “It’s a small team but we are tough; I have been excited all season. We have a good bunch of girls, very talented each and every one of them. They are using their individual talent and putting it together, great job, very excited for them and Hilmar; it’s been a long time since we have been this far.”
Hilmar will next host Bear River, a team the Yellowjackets have already played twice earlier this season, with one win and one loss. The match will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
“It’s tough from this point on. It’s going to be tough and require the girls to really focus and I believe they can do it,” Harris said. “Our girls know when they go on the court they know what to do. They play hard and focus when they play a tough team. They know what is required and they bring it. Whoever will make the least amount of errors will win and come out on top.”