It's been almost a full two weeks since the majority of local volleyball teams started league competition, with Trans Valley League teams being the exception. The late start to league-play has resulted in slim pickings for Hilmar High's volleyball team in terms of opponents, but on Thursday the Yellowjackets managed to lure Los Banos High to their homecourt during a bye week for the Tigers.
The Tigers — back-to-back Western Athletic Conference champions with a pair of undefeated seasons — aren't accustomed to losing in September, but on Thursday they were no match for Hilmar as the 'Jackets took the win in straight sets (25-14,25-22, and 25-21).
“Los Banos, they're a team you just never take for granted. They played well tonight,” Hilmar head coach Patti Harris said. “We were certainly a little bit flat the last two games, but the girls pulled through it. A few times they had to come from behind, but they pulled it out.”
Though its girls have been forced to play on average one game a week as opposed to the typical two games, Hilmar gets the opportunity to make up for lost time on the court this Saturday at the Oakdale Tournament, where it places second last season, before next week's start to TVL play.
“We've been playing like one game a week, and that's hard to do. You want to play games,” Harris said. “This tournament will help us a lot because we'll be playing all day on Saturday.”
After facing teams like Orestimba High, Escalon High, and Calaveras High in Saturday's tournament, the 'Jackets will face Turlock Christian High on Monday. League play begins the following Wednesday at home against Ripon High.