Homecoming week can be a distraction for anybody involved, especially student-athletes, however, Hilmar embraces the challenge.
The varsity volleyball team for Hilmar was able to rally back from their first set loss to Hughson on Thursday to topple the Huskies after winning three consecutive sets in a 3-1 final (21-25, 25-11, 25-13 and 25-14).
“A lot of our team is involved in ASB and since it's homecoming I heard some of our teammates didn't get sleep the night before, but I think it was more mental in the beginning,” said Hilmar's Mariah Ahid. “We got a little nervous at first but we pulled it together after coming out flat.”
“It's been a crazy week, but we can't blame it on that, energy was down and that is the main thing,” said Hilmar setter Hannah Pearce. “I just think it's homecoming week and we were a little overexcited about the football game. I don't know what happened in the first set but we all picked it up and came back and fought.”
Hughson struck first in the opening set and was able to hang in the battle with Hilmar, sneaking away by just one or two points for the most part until the end.
There were six different times in the first set where both sides tied the match, but eventually Hughson went on a 7-3 run to close out the set and take the 1-0 lead.
“We came out a little slow in the first since it's homecoming and our girls have been working on floats and ton of stuff, but they picked it up and played how we know we can play,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris.
After getting toppled in the first set by four points, Hilmar buckled down and finally found their groove in the second set, which carried over into the closing two sets.
The Yellowjackets swarmed the ball in the second set and won the biggest set of the match, ousting the Huskies by 14 points to tie it at 1-1.
“One of the biggest things is not losing our focus and falling apart,” said Harris. “Continuing to play tough against those better teams, always stay composed, all the tough competition helped maintain our edge and Hughson is a good team, but lot of distraction, glad we got the win despite the distractions.”
Hilmar went on to take the 12-point victory in the third set after trailing early and the fourth set was the same thing.
Down 0-2 in the fourth and final set, Hilmar managed to go on a 25-12 run to oust the Huskies and pick up the team's second consecutive Trans Valley League win.
“It's reassuring that losing how we did in the first, we were able to put it together and come out with a better positive attitude,” said Ahid. “If we can do that at the beginning of the season we are going to be able to improve from it.”
Ahid finished with a team-high 21 kills and added a pair of blocks. Pearce tallied a game-high 35 assists and added an ace.
Senior Miranda Gray finished with 31 digs and Erin Benning and Brittany Yarnell each added a pair of blocks.
Hilmar's next game will be on the road in Ripon at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.