After losing in the first round of the playoffs a year ago, the Turlock High volleyball team worked in the offseason to prepare for a deeper run this season.
With the team’s first 30-plus win season in over a decade, Turlock seems to be set for a successful run in the postseason and it started on Tuesday night with a 3-0 sweep of Chavez in the first round of the CIF Division I Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, [25-5, 25-5, 25-14].
“We are successful… we're already there,” said Turlock head coach Amber Castillon, who led her team to their sixth consecutive victory. “It’s the best group of girls I have had the pleasure of coaching and the fact that I get to do it a little longer makes it a whole lot better.”
“Last year we got better than the year before and this year we are even better and it’s great to see how far we can go,” said Turlock’s Sophie Bigler, who finished with seven kills. “With a new coaching staff and new players each year we know we will get better.”
Emily Romo took over the game on Tuesday night after dominating in the first set, playing a strong game all-around.
Romo tallied five kills and an ace in the team’s first 11 points of the game, eventually ending the first set with a kill for the win, edging out Chavez by 20 points in the first.
“It’s really awesome to get the win after what happened last year,” said Romo. “We are planning on making it further than the first round so we will see how that goes, we’re working really hard to make it happen.”
Romo came out in the second set and the storyline was the same—she dominated.
The 6-foot Romo racked up four of her five aces in the second set alone, helping Turlock go up 15-1 before Chavez tacked on a couple of points of their own.
Turlock edged out Chavez in the second set by another 20-point victory, setting up a competitive third.
“We played down to their level, which happens, but I am glad that we got back up and stepped up our game near the end,” said Romo about the third set slip-up.
Romo added two kills early on, even with a different lineup, and the Bulldogs went on a 12-3 run to beat Chavez in straight sets.
“We changed up our lineup in the third set and we are not so used to it, then we went back to normal and we were okay,” said Bigler. “We need to work our hardest and commit to focus on the game and not have our minds anywhere else.”
Turlock only committed four errors for the game and Romo finished with a game-high 12 kills and five aces, while Jadyn Tubbs was second on the team in kills with 11. Julia Handy added 40 assists for a team-high.
The next game for Turlock will be a second round home contest against Tracy or Franklin of Elk Grove High at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“The competition in the next round is much better so we will have to play our game at a higher level,” Romo added.