The Hilmar High varsity volleyball team is no stranger to success. The Yellowjackets’ winning ways continued on Saturday when — led by head coach Patti Harris — the team captured their second straight Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section title after defeating No. 2 Colfax, 3-0, from Ripon High’s gym.
It was also the sixth straight section title appearance for the ‘Jackets, cementing the program’s legendary status in the section over the last six years.
“They did really well… just so happy about this team. [They’re] a great group of girls and it’s been a long journey for us,” said Harris. “Their individual skills and as a team they ended up higher than that and always nice to see that as a coach.”
From 2015 to 2018, Hilmar has accumulated three perfect 12-0 league seasons and have lost just twice in Trans-Valley League games.
The ‘Jackets record improves to 32-12 while they also won their ninth straight contest of the year, including 18 of the last 19.
They also didn’t lose a single set in 12 sets played in playoffs — winning all contests in straight sets.
In the opening set, Colfax gave the champions their toughest challenge but the ‘Jackets closed it out 25-20.
“We watched some film on them…had a couple meetings and the girls had an idea of what kind of team they are and Thursday and Friday we broke it all down and we worked on their weaknesses,” said Harris “They were a pretty good team with some pretty good hitters, but the girls did a good job in focusing on what we needed to do.”
Once the second set hit, Hilmar notched its easiest win 25-11 followed by a 25-16 win in the third to secure their second straight title.
“It was pretty awesome, always feels good to win,” said Harris, who prior to winning her second straight section title, lost four in a row. “It was awesome, the girls dominated, not a point in the game where they led us; they did a really good job.”
Hilmar’s Mikela Labno tallied a team-high 12 kills and Liv Peterson followed with 11.
Emma Martin finished with three blocks, three aces and 30 assists while Julia Gonsalves added 13 digs.
“Girls pulled through it all. This team, I told them before we played there is no ‘I’ in team but these girls play so well together and they are always playing for each other,” said Harris. “They cheer each other and high fives; it is a team that really plays like a team and in all facets.”
With the win Hilmar advances to the CIF State tournament with an opponent and time yet to be determined. For updated brackets visit cifsjs.org.