Sarah Amaral and her Eagle teammates stepped onto their home court for the first round of the Division VI SJS Playoffs Thursday night with typical post-season expectations. They expected support from their fans, a formidable opponent in Lodi Academy High, and, above all else, they expected to win.
But Turlock Christian High quickly learned that expectations in others can often be unreliable. As it turned out, the Titans didn’t have much to offer in terms of competition. TC easily dispatched Lodi Academy 3-0 (25-7, 25-5, and 25-5) in its most lopsided victory of the season, setting up a semi-final match against Sac County Day High on Tuesday.
“I didn’t expect to get a win that easy,” Amaral said.
“When I watched them in warm-ups I knew we just had to play our game and not let their caliber of play affect our caliber of play,” TC’s head coach Ken Wynne said.
TC’s superiority was evident from the onset of the first set. The Titans were unable to do much to stop TC’s offensive attack of Amaral, Allison Ulrich, and Monique McMeechan. By the second set Lodi Academy’s inability to communicate with each other turned into frustration which rapidly spiraled into an acceptance of defeat. The third set was merely a formality as the Eagles put up 12 unanswered points to begin, half of which were aces from server Anna Larson. By the night’s end Larson recorded 9 aces, Amaral served up 13 kills, Tiffany Franco offered 21 assists, and Arin Morelli finished with 6 digs.
“We’ve been working really hard and we’ve gotten a lot better throughout the season,” Amaral said. “We need to work hard all the way through the each match and keep each other pumped up.”
TC must now travel to face the Sacramento Metro League’s second-place Cavaliers. Although the Eagles’ first post-season test was a breeze, coach Wynne isn’t expecting anymore easy wins.
“When you have a match like we had tonight it’s easy to think the next one will come easy and you get beat,” Wynne said. “We’ll practice as hard as we always do and make sure not to take anything for granted.”
The Eagles will travel to Sacramento on Tuesday where the semi-final match will begin at 7p.m.
“Our dedication in God and all the power He gives us helps us to never give up on each other,” Amaral said. “We fight to the finish and work together as a team until the very end.”