Turlock High varsity volleyball’s most successful season to-date was the 2016 squad; however, the 2017 group is eager to accomplish even more.
Easier said than done, but the team is loaded with a herd of returners that include arguably one of the best setters in the state and the program’s best in Julia Handy (University of Arizona).
Alongside Handy will be the Tubb sisters in Jadyn and Jazmyn, who are both highly regarded as top tier prospects, with Jadyn committed to University of Pacific on a scholarship.
“They are the backbone for sure, Isabella Bush and Riley Cantwell are great also and we will move them around a lot and they went to nationals as well,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “They are looking real strong. Jazmyn has a year of long varsity season and her team made it to nationals in open division.”
Just last year, the Bulldogs went 28-12, tying Pitman with wins for the year, while boasting a Central California Conference record of 10-2, placing them in second in league.
Turlock toppled their first three opponents of the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section tournament in convincing fashion as the No. 6 seed. They came out on fire, toppling No. 3 Pleasant Grove in the second round in a 3-0 victory.
They followed their first upset of the tournament with a second straight upset over No. 2 Tracy in a 3-1 win in the semifinal, setting up the crosstown rival Section Championship with Pitman, and earning a berth in the section finale for the first time in program history.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Pride pulled off the 3-0 win, but the ‘Dogs season didn’t end after they earned a spot in the state tournament.
“We definitely wanted to win Section but Nor Cal after that, how can you not be beyond just... blown away a little bit the way they won in three sets over and over again,” said Lugo. “They are always hungry, they are a hungry bunch.”
In the first round of the Nor Cal state tournament, the Bulldogs topped Palo Alto 3-0 in their first game and followed with a 3-0 win over Redwood before falling to No. 1 Menlo-Atherton in the regional semifinal, 3-0.
“Turlock volleyball in 2016 was a group that were so amazing and that you never count them out,” said Lugo. “We have never set a limit and little goals along the way and we were just lucky enough to have a goal every week and we took it one week at a time, no taking it to one point, just one week at a time.”
That mentality led to a historic moment for the program.
This year’s team that lost only a pair of starters has higher expectations heading into this season and coach Lugo is eager to see how far they can go.
“It's always their expectations of themselves… we are always trying to get them to play their best and they set the bar so high for themselves,” said Lugo. “I want them to play to their potential, every match, I just want them to go out and if they do that, then look out.”
Along with Handy and the Tubbs sisters, look for Riley Cantwell, Kennedy Folly, Audrey Dykzeul and Isabella Bush to assist.
Turlock’s foundation game will be on the road at St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. Aug. 28.