It was chaotic, dramatic and extremely loud when Turlock hosted Pitman High volleyball in their crosstown regular season finale on Thursday night in what ended up being a wild game that went five sets.
The Pride struck early as they edged out the Bulldogs in the first two sets by two points, but with the home crowd behind them — and some misfortune by Pitman in the final three sets — Turlock came out on top 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-19, 27-25 and 15-11).
“I didn't expect tonight, but I couldn't be prouder of the girls, way to gut it out,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo. “I felt like there were some nerves out there, little jitters. What it meant to Pitman it never crossed our mind.”
“I told the girls after the match that if we play against any team in the playoffs like we did today, then we can compete,” said Pitman head coach Kristen Pontes-Christian. “Turlock was a little bit nervous, and we came out on fire and caused that, which was our plan. I just wished we didn't have that inconsistency through the third, fourth and fifth set.”
Pitman ends the year with an 8-4 CCC record and 17-15 overall. The Pride also ends their streak of CCC titles stretching from 2011-2016.
The Pride were battling for a second-place tie with Buhach Colony and looked well on their way after the first two sets ended with 25-23 victories over the Bulldogs.
Pitman, already dealing with an injury-heavy season — with Grace Willming and Kaylin Randhawa missing extensive time along with multiple others — saw Avery Carlson go down in the third and never return.
Turlock edged out Pitman in the third 25-19 and an extremely action-packed fourth saw the 'Dogs come out on top 27-25.
Pitman kicked off the fifth with a quick 5-3 lead then Turlock bounced right back to rally in a 12-6 run to secure the win.
Willming finished the game with eight digs, two blocks, six aces and eight kills.
Randhawa added two blocks, two aces and 11 kills. Emily Vander Weide finished with 15 kills. Fallon Evans added 13 digs and Emma Hirschkorn ended the night with 34 assists and nine digs.
Also, according to the Turlock stats provided by the coaching staff, setter Julia Handy surpassed 4,000 career assists in four seasons after Thursday's game.
Turlock had Isabella Bush with a team-high 19 kills while Jazmyn Tubbs added 16 kills, an ace and 12 digs. Handy finished the game with a game-high 59 assists, and added nine digs, four aces and six kills.
Jadyn Tubbs added 15 digs, six kills and two aces. Mary Katherine Padilla added eight kills and 10 digs.
“Tonight, proved you can't take anything for granted,” Lugo added. “Everyone comes out ready to play and you have to be ready every game and every match and that is our plan. We will continue to work on our weaknesses and continue to build on our strength and will take our opponent that day.”
Both the Pride and Bulldogs advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs with opponents and times yet to be determined.