This year’s Turlock High varsity volleyball team is anchored by the two seniors on the roster in Mary Padilla and Jazmyn Tubbs and they are hoping to bring back the Bulldogs’ winning ways.
It wasn’t that long ago that Turlock was coming off their best season ever (2017). That team also boasted future Division-I players Jadyn Tubbs (University of Pacific) and Julia Handy (University of Arizona).
Both were more than vital in the Bulldogs’ postseason runs in their final two years that included two Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I appearances and winning their first ever in 2017 after going 34-9. They also clinched the Central California Conference in their final year with a perfect 12-0 record.
In 2018, however, the Bulldogs had few returners and the team had a rollercoaster of a season.
They went 14-18, amassing a losing season for the first time since 2013, when they went 7-14.
Despite their overall record, they went 6-4 in the Central California Athletic League, which earned them a playoff berth in the SJS D-I playoffs as the No. 11 seed.
Unfortunately, their season was cut short after falling to No. 6 Cosumnes Oaks in the first round, 3-0.
“Because of last year, I think that they are hungry and I don’t think they know how good they are. We don’t know how good they are,” said head coach Amber Lugo. “We are just looking good early on, but we are definitely deeper, more bench than we have ever had.”
That roster includes a total of 13, along with Tubbs and Padilla are Ava Chiesa, Beth Johnson, Ellie Crowell, Kaylee Mulhearn, Brynn Rowell, Jocelyn Gauthier, Nataly Frias, Mira Diaz, Regan Alverado, Sarah VanHoogmoad and Kennedy Bixel.
Mulhearn is the only sophomore on a junior heavy squad that has high expectations from themselves.
“I am not going to take anything away from every single player,” said Lugo. “A lot of interchangeable pieces, enough to give players breaks.”
Lugo also asked the team about their goals and expectations.
Their answers were quite common, she said.
“Easily over half would like to win league,” said Lugo. “They were in the program during the section title run and they really had a great offseason playing club, our entire varsity squad did, and they are super dedicated.”
The first game for the Bulldogs is scheduled to be on the road at St. Mary’s at 6 p.m. Aug. 28.