The Turlock Bulldogs varsity volleyball team overcame a first set loss to eventually capture the victory over new Central California Conference opponent, El Capitan, in Tuesday's home league opener in a 3-1 final (20-25, 25-15, 25-14 and 25 21).
“I think we were just getting used to El Cap since we had never played them before,” said Turlock's Julia Handy. “We were just ironing out some things, but after this weekend we played super tough competition but coming in we didn't really know what to expect from them.”
“We just came off a really big weekend and I just think they were a little flat, standing and watching, but things happen, we just needed a little time to step up our game,” said Turlock head coach Amber Lugo.
Turlock, which is the No. 19 ranked team in California, according to maxpreps.com, was just coming off a second place finish in the Oak Ridge tournament this prior weekend.
The Bulldogs played six games in a 12-hour period and went 4-2 with just eight players on the roster and earned three victories en route to the championship game, including a 2-1 win over the No. 2 team in the state, Oak Ridge.
Following their triumphant win over Oak Ridge, the Bulldogs faced No. 13 Presentation in the title game but they ultimately fell 2-1 after winning the opening set.
“It's a very tough tournament and we lost to Oak Ridge in pool play, but we came back from our match and did very well, the girls played lights out, played their hearts out for 12 hours,” said Lugo about the tournament.
The Bulldogs seemed to carry a bit of that weight into Tuesday's league contest and fell in the opening set, 20-25.
“I think when you play a team for the first time you have to figure them out and what they do and I think it was knowing our opponent and it took a little while,” said Handy.
Handy went on to accumulate a game-high 38 assists to go with her two blocks and was essential for her team in the second, third and fourth sets.
In the second set, El Capitan took the first point, but Turlock went on to outscore them 25-14, eventually sealing the 10-point win and making it 1-1.
The third set was nearly the same story as the Gauchos claimed the first point before the Bulldogs closed it out after dominating with an 11-point victory.
“In the second and third we started to play our game,” said Handy. “Not worrying so much and focused on our game plan and in the fourth we pulled off for a bit, they are a good team but we need to stay focused and stay strong throughout.”
In the fourth, the Gauchos went up 3-0 on the Bulldogs prior to the team's surge in the end.
The Bulldogs went on to capture a four-point win after competing in a tight fourth set, but eventually the team's 4-0 run was enough for the victory.
“I think we played well, we just need to focus on our game plan and not get rattled, kinda just worry about ourselves not somebody on the other side,” said Handy about her team's 1-0 start after a shaky first league contest.
Jadyn Tubbs tallied 11 kills and her sister Jazmyn had eight. Audrey Dykzeul had seven kills and Isabella Bush finished with a pair of blocks.
“I think this year the CCC will be more competitive and so we cannot overlook anyone cause anybody can upset anybody, as it showed with us losing the first set,” Handy added. “We did show that we can fight back and go against adversity, but we can't underestimate anybody.”
Turlock will host Lincoln of Stockton in a preseason game that was rescheduled from earlier in the year, beginning at 6 p.m. today.