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‘Jackets sweep D-II Rio Americano in first round of state playoffs
Hilmar volley2
Hilmar High’s Alondra Huerta gets a dig during Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Rio Americano in the first round of the CIF State Division-III bracket (Photo contributed by Anna Silveira).

No. 7 Hilmar High volleyball might not have reached the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game this year, but they did continue their streak of seven appearances in the CIF State tournament on a strong note after toppling No. 10 Rio Americano in their final home game of the season in a 3-0 sweep.

“The girls were ready for this team,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris. “They have some big hitters, one of them is going to Cal Poly, but all of our girls were superstars tonight. They were on, picked up everything, they played great tonight. I am happy with their performance.” ilmar will next

Tuesday was their final home game of the season.

The playoff matchup was a bit like David versus Goliath, as Hilmar’s school enrollment is under 700 while Rio Americano has nearly 2,000 students. School size didn’t make a difference in the end, however.

The first set started as a battle, but Hilmar was able to pull away with the win, 25-19.

The second set was a back and forth tug for the lead with Hilmar leading by as many as three. They eventually closed it out with a 5-1 run to take it 25-22.

Hilmar won the third set, 25-21, to complete the sweep.

The Hilmar High Yellowjackets won the last two Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV titles and reached the championship game the last six straight years.

This year was their first year that they competed in the D-III bracket in the section.

With Tuesday’s win, the Yellowjackets improve to 32-11.

Liv Peterson finished with a game-high 18 kills. Sara Chavez tallied three blocks. Julia Gonsalves finished with five aces and 28 digs. Emma Martin added a game-high 30 assists.

No. 7 Hilmar will next face off against No. 2 Burlingame at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“The main thing is we have to play our game and control what we can on our side of the court, and try to do what the best we can,” Harris added. “We just have to play how we play, and you saw tonight, we mixed it up well and served really tough tonight although we missed some serves, but we have to practice our game and see what we can do.”