Turlock (20-2) High's varsity volleyball team accomplished a feat on Monday that had not be reached in over a decade.
For the second consecutive season, the Turlock Bulldogs amassed back-to-back 20 plus win seasons after Monday's home sweep over Atwater, 3-0, [25-15, 26-24 and 25-12].
“It is special,” said Turlock head coach Amber Castillon. “This group of girls don't quit and winning is important to them and they fight; you can never count them out. Common offense and defense at all levels, and everyone learning all positions and everyone being able to be interchangeable has helped.”
“The big reason we have been so successful is because we play together as a team and not an individual team. It’s not about me, it’s about the team and everyone accepts their role,” said second year varsity player, sophomore Julia Handy. “We always stay positive and together as a team because in the past the girls did not play for each other, but now we are.”
It only took the Bulldogs 22 games to amass the feat and Monday's contest also resulted in the team's fifth straight victory, having won six of the last seven, including the first three Central California Conference contests, in straight sets.
“It feels good moving forward, especially winning in straight sets. We should be pushing through in three because the outcome of the CCC winner might come down to that,” said Turlock sophomore Jadyn Tubbs, who finished second on the team in kills with 10 after sustaining a minor injury to her foot.
Tubbs and the rest of the Turlock Bulldogs were tested on Monday night but not in the start or finish, but in the middle of the contest.
The Bulldogs earned a 10-point win in the first of three games behind Emily Romo's five of 11 kills for the game.
Behind Romo was the reliable depth of the Bulldogs, which showed their progress from recent years in the second game when Tubbs took a break in the second game after not feeling too well.
“The injury occurred in warmups when I pushed in the middle I landed sideways on my foot but it felt better when I was on the court playing and when I was on the side it cramped up,” said Tubbs. “I think I scared myself in the beginning. I will be fine; it was more of a mental thing at that point.”
After dominating the entire first game, Turlock did much of the same to begin the second but after Tubbs went down the morale dropped and Turlock sustained its first deficit of the match, going down by as many as two points when Atwater led 17-15 at one point.
A timeout was called by Atwater after Romo hit a serving ace to pull within one point but Tubbs had checked back in and the team was at full-strength with one of its leaders.
Tubbs didn't wait long, but dropped two consecutive kills to lift Turlock to a 21-20 lead and from that moment on there was no stopping the Bulldogs.
“Sitting on the bench and watching what happened really lifted me up and I didn't realize how bad I wanted to play until I was sitting and I felt like I had a lot left in me,” Tubbs added.
Turlock went on to win the second game by two points before pulling away in the third by another double-digit win.
“Jadyn is so fast to the ball, she is a spark plug out there and she is one of the hearts of the team,” said Castillon of Tubbs. “Everyone looks to her to bring the team up when down... she is good at that and she always makes us smile and always has something to add.”
As a team, Turlock only committed four errors for the game and Handy was stellar once again, ending with a game-high 30 assists and three blocks.
“This is a good one to win because I know last year we went five games with them and it's a good feeling to walk out in three with the win and to stay as rested as possible for the remaining CCC match-ups,” Handy added.
“The girls were hitting, taking great swings and blocking was a bit off until that third game when the blockers adjusted and got to their positioning where they needed to be on time,” said Castillon. “That helped the improvement from the third game as opposed to that second game."