Less than two miles separates the home courts of Turlock High and Turlock Christian High, yet Wednesday marked the first time in four years that the volleyball teams faced each other in competition.
Despite entering the match up as the visiting team, it was the Bulldogs who seemed most at home during the non-league match-up as they claimed their second victory of the season in straight sets (25-10, 25-18, and 25-14).
“It's a good place to start,” Turlock head coach Amber Castillon said. “The girls are playing really well together right now, they're having a lot of fun, so it's fun to watch.”
With both teams focused on perfecting rotations and lineups and on making in-game adjustments, there was a fair share of errors committed on both sides of the net. The bulk of those errors in the first and third sets belonged to TC, however, as the Eagles dealt with Turock's combination of chemistry and power.
Turlock's Victoria Larsen led the effort on the court with 14 kills in addition to 7 digs and 2 aces.
“She is just plain — so great,” Castillon said. “She has trained so hard and she is physically so much stronger than she's ever been. She's always been there mentally, you know hungry and everything, but now she's the whole package.”
Freshman Jadyn Tubbs and junior Emily Romo also provided power from the outside with 8 and 7 kills, respectively.
“She brings a lot of experience and a lot of power. She's so athletic; she can make so many things happen out there,” Castillon said of Tubbs.
“We have a setter that really likes to set that back set and it's working out well for us,” she added about Romo.
But while TC lost the first and third sets by considerable margins, the Eagles cut down on their mistakes in the second set. TC rarely trailed by more than four points and won some hard-fought rallies with the Bulldogs.
TC's Nicky Sanders was a key part of her team's second-set success and finished with 10 kills on the night.
“I was impressed. They're a great program, from JV to varsity, and I thought we fought hard,” TC's head coach Ashley Towns said. “We gained a lot of stuff to learn from the match, but overall I'm happy with the effort that was put forth.”
Both Turlock and TC followed Wednesday's match with matches on Thursday against the respective teams of Downey High and Denair High. Turlock defeated the Knights in straight sets, 25-14, 25-13, 25-10. TC also won in straight sets defeating the Coyotes, 25-10, 25-18, 25-21.