Tuesday’s Trans-Valley League volleyball showdown between Hilmar and Ripon High was the unofficial title matchup between the top two volleyball programs in league.
Hilmar was coming in with just one loss in eight games prior to Tuesday’s game and Ripon with a perfect 8-0 record, having already topped Hilmar in their first meeting of the year in a 3-0 sweep.
Second time wasn’t the charm for the Yellowjackets, who fought hard but ultimately fell to Ripon for the second time this season, 3-1.
“Ripon is solid all around; they are totally seasoned and are all seniors for the most part,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris.
Ripon’s six seniors, along with the rest of the squad, made it difficult for a much younger Hilmar team that played with two freshmen and two, sometimes three seniors on the court at once.
The Yellowjackets' inexperience was evident but it didn’t define the pace of the game.
Hilmar lost 25-17 in the first set, followed by a 25-16 loss in the second followed by a resurgent third set.
The ‘Jackets went on to topple Ripon in a very competitive third set that ended in a 25-20 final for Hilmar.
Momentum was clearly on Hilmar’s side but it didn’t follow into the fourth set, where the experienced Indians made it clear they were not leaving without the victory.
The win marks just the second time since 2011, that Ripon defeated Hilmar twice in one season.
Hilmar falls to 7-2 in league and Ripon improves to 9-0.
“But overall I wasn’t upset with our girl’s performance I feel like we improved a lot from the last time we played them and you always like to see improvements,” said Harris.
Hannah Pearce of Hilmar finished with a team-high 32 assists. Miranda Gray added 26 digs. Mariah Ahid and Erin Benning had 12 kills apiece while Benning added five blocks and Ahid added three aces.
Hilmar’s next game will be on the road at Modesto Christian at 6:30 p.m. today.
“We will see how we finish league since we have Escalon to play, who is really tough, but as of now we are focusing on the rest of league — but in the back is playoffs, which is definitely a goal,” Harris added.