Playoffs. It’s happening for the Hilmar High varsity boys volleyball team in their second year of existence for the second straight season and head coach Fatima Handy and her squad are excited.
The spot was clinched after the Yellowjackets topped the Mountain House Mustangs in Thursday’s senior night game, 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-14).
“We clinched a playoff spot so we will see where they seed us and I am so excited,” said Handy. “Preseason prepared us for league, and everybody is getting better in league which is nice because it will help us for next year.”
This year, the ‘Jackets ended up placing second in the Trans-Valley League, finishing only behind league foe Ripon Christian.
In their first match back on April 12, the tables were set for a first-place path.
The winner would take solid control of the top spot and both sides knew the implications.
RC ended up beating Hilmar, but it took five sets for the match to be decided ending in a 3-2 final.
“RC is our No. 1 competition and when we went to their place we went to five and we hosted them here and we knew that we had to beat them in order to be co-champs,” said Handy.
Riding a three-game win streak, the Hilmar Yellowjackets hosted RC in their penultimate game at home on Tuesday, but it didn’t fare well for the home team. RC won 3-0.
“So, we didn’t get the league title this year but we did make it to playoffs and we want to maybe pull some upsets — we will see,” said Handy.
Hilmar ends the regular season having won four of its last five games.
All of those wins were in straight sets.
“Their volleyball IQ is through the roof, they understand rotation and are running tempo, which is exciting to see because defense allows us to play. We are serving and playing well, it’s exciting,” said Handy.
On Thursday, the Yellowjackets completed the season sweep over the Mustangs, who they played two times prior.
The first set ended with ease at 25-19 and the ensuing set saw the ‘Jackets finish with a 15-10 run to win the second by eight points.
In the third and final set, Hilmar went down quickly but was even faster to recover and turn the tables as they went on to win their biggest set, 25-14.
“We run such a complicated rotation, but now we will see who we are playing,” Handy added. “Probably going to travel and I just want an upset, anything is possible, especially in this game if we are prepared enough.”
Hilmar will next compete in the Division-III Sac-Joaquin Section tournament with an opponent and time yet to be determined on Tuesday.