The second half of league play is already underway in the Trans-Valley League and for the Hilmar varsity volleyball team, the chase for a title looks to be going well after defeating second-place Hughson on Tuesday night from the Yellowjackets gym in a straight sets sweep.
Hughson came out hot in two of the three sets played, taking an early lead, but the Huskies’ momentum ran out as Hilmar did what they have done all season long in the TVL, win convincingly, 3-0, (25-10, 25-22 and 25-14).
“The girls are playing really well so far and we are taking it game by game. The girls are getting great and we have a tournament this weekend which is going to help a lot,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris.
That tournament is the Stockton Classic, which boasts 80 of the top volleyball teams in the state, mostly Division-I. Hilmar is D-IV.
So far this season, the Yellowjackets’ nine losses have come at the hands of D-I schools.
Two of those losses came at the hands of No. 2 in Nevada Bishop Manogue while Turlock, which is No. 28 in California according to maxpreps.com, beat Hilmar twice as well.
“It’s going to refocus them because at the beginning of the season we had really tough teams,” said Harris. “Real hard preseason, so playing that tournament will refocus them, fine tune them and get them ready for whatever is ahead of us.”
No team that has topped Hilmar this year is ranked 131 or lower according to maxpreps.com, while St. Ignatius is the highest ranked at No. 9.
“We hung in there early on in the year,” said Harris. “I think when these girls click and when we have all the hitters on, they look great.”
Hilmar is also one win away from clinching the TVL title, currently holding an 8-0 record while Hughson falls to 5-3.
The Yellowjackets also improve to 18-9 overall and coach Harris picked up win No. 232 since taking over in 2009.
Once Hughson took a 3-0 lead in the first set, Hilmar went on to outscore them 25-7 enroute to their first of three set victories.
The second set was the closest of the three, with Hilmar pulling away to win it by three points, 25-22.
In the final set, Hilmar showed their rallying talent, despite their early deficit, as they handled Hughson, winning by 11 points.
“Home and away games are so different, anything can happen,” Harris added.
Hilmar senior Mariah Ahid finished with game-high 20 kills. Hannah Pearce had a game-high 32 assists, while also adding four aces. Olivia Peterson and Mikela Labno added two blocks apiece and Julia Gonsalves finished with 14 digs.
Hilmar will next compete at the Stockton Classic from UOP, against an opponent yet to be named and a time yet to be determined on Saturday.