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‘Jackets one win from sixth section final appearance
Hilmar volleyball
The Hilmar Yellowjackets volleyball team celebrates after defeating West Campus on Thursday, 3-0, to advance to the Division-IV Sac-Joaquin Section semifinal (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

Head coach Patti Harris and her Hilmar High varsity volleyball squad are one victory away from returning to Division-IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championship game for the sixth straight year after they defeated West Campus in the quarterfinal round from home on Thursday in a 3-0 final.

“You can never take anybody lightly, it’s playoffs and anything can happen. They are a very good team and they were undefeated in their league,” said Harris. “But the girls came out super ready to play, super ready.”

The ‘Jackets proved why they are the defending section champions early on.

Hilmar came out on fire in the opening set, taking a 4-0 early lead. From there WC was forced to burn a pair of timeouts, then the Yellowjackets went on an 8-0 rally to extend their lead to 16-3.

Hilmar ended up cruising through the first 25-11 and the next two were nearly identical.

In the second, WC battled for a lengthy period, but then Hilmar pulled away to outscore WC 15-6 to end the second with a 25-13 win and to go up 2-0.

In the third set, Hilmar scored four of the first five points and from there they rolled into the semifinal by sweeping WC in three sets, winning the third, 25-12.

The next game for Hilmar will be against TVL foe, Ripon, which toppled Union Mine in the quarterfinal.

Hilmar defeated Ripon twice during the regular season, and won the TVL title outright for the second straight year with a 12-0 record.

Ripon, however, got the better of Hilmar in 2016, winning the section championship and league in that year.

“Our girls know the significance and couple years ago we know what they did to us in the final, we will be prepared for the next game,” said Harris.

Hilmar has won 27 straight TVL contests dating back to the end of the 2016 regular season.

The Yellowjackets’ overall record improves to 30-12.

“They played really well together as a team, after so many games, we played 42 games this season, now 30-12, so lot of games,” Harris added. “But it is all paying off and the girls know one another and the chemistry is strong.”

On Thursday, Olivia Peterson finished with a team-high 18 kills. Emma Martin tallied 32 assists and Julia Gonsalves added nine digs.

Hilmar will host Ripon in the section semifinal game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.