Pitman and Hilmar High don't usually meet on the volleyball court for either the regular season or playoffs due to their different Divisions, but on Monday both respective powerhouses clashed for their annual Foundation game at Pitman High.
The stands were rocking as the excitement for the final exhibition game before the regular season was an interesting contest for both sides.
Hilmar was not in top form against the Pitman Pride, and it showed. The Pride, which have been a steady power in the valley, initiated an effective attack on offense backed up by great defensive play to take a straight set victory at 25-13 in all three games.
“We now know some things that we need to work on, such as missing serves in the third game and things like that in order to stay competitive for the year,” said Pitman assistant head coach Hailee Hernandez. “But it was good to see the incoming juniors get the work in.”
“They were just off... I can't explain it but you know, Pitman is a good team there is no doubt but we were just not on. Things were not working right for us,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris. “It’s good that it happened now so we can learn to bounce back from that before the year starts.”
Pitman, beginning a new era with many newcomers, was smooth with their play, however Hilmar's Emily Baptista and Mariah Ahid provided some problems at first.
The Pride went up 12-6 in the first game, before Hilmar pulled within five points, but the 'Jackets' rally was short and the Pride notched their first win of three games by a dozen.
With the help of Kiyanna Torres' 32 assists, Lauren Solis added 11 digs, Yisel Perez tacked on 10 kills and Kaylin Randhawa tallied nine kills and three blocks to help assure a steady arsenal of attacks.
“We do a lot of consistency drills in practice. I don't care if they can hit the ball in front of the 10 foot line but it’s about hitting it consistently and they work on it and strive for it,” said Hernandez. “Because they know that it will take them far, being consistent like that on offense.”
Hilmar jumped out to an early 3-2 lead in the second game, but things went downhill after Whitney Barnes and her teammates went on a surge and the 'Jackets just couldn't find their touch and placing, eventually losing by 12 points once more. The third game ended the same, with a Pride win by 12.
“This game confirmed some of the things we need to work on, like serving,” said Harris. “Cohesion as well since were going up and down right now and its ok, teams do that but they need to regain that mojo to keep it at a good level. Tonight was a great way to see us being challenged and to see how we would react; luckily the game does not count.”
Hilmar's Hannah Pearce finished with a team-high 18 assists and Baptista's 10 kills were also a team-high.
“It’s alright we have work to do and I told the girls this is how you don't play and now you know what not to do as a team,” Harris added.
The next game for Hilmar will be away at Los Banos at 6 p.m. today.
“These girls have a more focused confidence, but you can see that they are focused on the game and really calm level headed team,” Hernandez added.