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Jackets volleyball heading to semifinal
One win from section final berth
hilmar volley 3
Hilmar junior, Emily Baptista goes up and gets one of her 18 kills during Thursdays quarterfinal matchup against Bear River at home. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

No day off; no problem.

The Hilmar High Yellowjackets volleyball team headed into Thursday night’s Division-IV CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Tournament coming of a Veteran’s day first round victory but this time with no day off from school and against a higher seed in Bear River (7).

They had no issues from the onset, as the ‘Jackets played a steady game and in the end they were clicking.

It is now back-to-back straight sets victories in the postseason for the ‘Jackets who took down the Bruins in three games at home in the quarterfinal round, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17 and 25-10).

“Knowing that this could be our last game at any time, we just had to fight. I just told our team that no matter what team we are playing, the intensity needs to be high,” said senior Haylee Pearce.

With the win the ‘Jackets move into the semifinals for the second consecutive year.

They have knocked the Bruins out of the postseason for the second straight year.

“When this team is challenged, they tend to play a lot better and compared to other games we have played,” said Hilmar head coach Patti Harris. “They just played really well together. Everything worked. Everything clicked.”

It looked like everything was definitely going right for the ‘Jackets who came out firing in the first two sets.

Bear River would make it close in the second when Hilmar was only up by two at 16-14 but they had no problem escaping the possible upset and ended that game with a 9-3 run to win it.

Coach Harris needed to make a couple changes around but it seemed to pay off in the end.

“I had a player on the outside that couldn’t play either so I had another outside ends. Two normal players that don’t always play that position were playing,” she said. “So we had to switch some things and it all clicked and worked out. It was great.”

By the third and final set the ‘Jackets had crushed the Bruins hopes as they won by 15 points and are now just one game away from the section title game—again.

“Tonight everyone did their job and clicked and that’s why they performed so well tonight, I am happy for them,” Harris said.

Next for the ‘Jackets will be a home contest against Ripon in the semifinal, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“I am pretty confident we can win this next game again,” said Pearce of facing Ripon in the semifinal. “Especially since we played them twice already and it has been a good outcome for us, but we will see, they are going to definitely bring their ‘A’ game. We need to play our game and not overlook them.”

“Ripon is always a good team as a great program and they took third in TVL and they are a solid program,” Harris added. “We know them well. We can’t take them for granted, we never take these league teams for granted, they will not just lay out and give the win to us.”