The Turlock Christian Eagles volleyball team continues to fly past their opponents in the postseason and Thursday was no different.
For the third straight year, the Eagles are heading to UC Davis to compete in the Division-VI CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Tournament Championship game after upsetting the number one seed in the bracket — Valley Christian — with a 3-1 win, (23-25, 25-16, 25-21 and 25-17).
“I am pumped. It has definitely been a great night,” said TC head coach Ashlee Towns. “We made a few mental mistakes early but once we cleaned it up we dominated from there on.”
In her first year as the head coach, Towns has led this team to the grand finale after a rough offseason that saw multiple talented seniors leave the squad, including their coach at the time, but Towns had a different vision.
She did not panic but rather knew exactly how to prepare her squad for battle in the postseason and that was by constructing a very competitive preseason schedule where the Eagles played numerous Division I schools, Pitman and Turlock High to name a few.
All this, along with a combination of talented newcomers and a deep squad made the transition easier and smoother and the girls have just believed in a deceiving year as far as the wins and losses go.
“It’s overwhelming, I am excited for my team and going into the game I was nervous with a lot of pressure and with the great history I knew expectations were tough with a daunting task,” said Towns. “But as a varsity head coach in first year couldn’t ask for a better start and it’s a humbling experience and our girls trusted me through the year and they never gave up. We had eyes set on Davis.”
The Eagles have now won eight consecutive Section playoff games heading into their third section finale.
“They handled themselves with poise and calm that I haven’t seen all season,” Towns said. “Valley Christian hadn’t lost in two months and to not be intimidating, we showed maturity for as young as we are, our seniors stepped up huge.”
Among those seniors were Tori Vierra and Madison Yagi who were both stellar for TC.
Vierra ended the game with a kill and it was nearly a perfect game for her as she finished with 17 kills and only committed two errors all game.
“Everybody stepped up but Tori knew it was possibly her last game and she was a dominating player tonight,” Towns said. “It was hands down the best game we have played this season.”
Nicky Sanders finished with seven aces and seven kills while Kaylene Baskin added on five blocks and Mikayla Yagi topped out with 14 kills.
Madison Yagi finished with a game-high in assists with 53.
“She took advantage; we were clicking offensively, very impressive game from her,” Towns said of Madison. “We are clicking at the right time, don’t want to peak too early but we hit our stride and critical to our success, can’t be too cocky because we have a big bulls eye as past champions.”
“We need to work on some rough edges and need to know any given night anything can happen and need to use the confidence and play TC volleyball and we will be a ok.”
The D-VI championship game will be played at UC Davis with the time set for 4 p.m. on Nov. 21 against Stone Ridge Christian.