Two years ago the 8th grade volleyball team at Turlock Junior High had an undefeated season, providing both Turlock and Pitman High with a talented crop of new athletes. This year the 8th grade Tigers did it again, finishing 23-0 in an even more remarkable year than 2010, and leaving Pride and Bulldog coaches salivating at the thought of another talented group of girls.
“I told these girls that this was the most talented pool of 8th graders we’ve had to choose from,” TJHS’ head coach of 35 years Ardie Feucht said. “This group raised the bar and set a new standard of excellence.”
At the beginning of the year 50 girls tried out for the team, a hefty number by anyone’s standards. The top 12 Tigers were chosen for the A squad while the next best 14 made the B squad, arguably the most competitive and promising volleyball class TJHS has ever seen. The A squad immediately went to work, putting down opponents left and right. With a combination of confidence and positivity the A squad won all but one match in straight sets.
“The level of volleyball among young girls is really rising,” Feucht said.
The versatile group’s undefeated record includes two tournaments, the first at Ripon High, where the Tigers claimed the championship in their first appearance at the tournament, and the second at the TJHS Tournament at Pitman High this past Saturday where total victory was claimed with a 25-18, 25-21 win over Dutcher.
“They were truly excited,” Feucht said. “They knew they did something no other group had done.”
As the end of junior high draws near so does the inevitable splitting of this group of champions. Some will continue playing for the Pride while others will play for the Bulldogs, meeting on the court three times a year but on opposite sides of the net. Even though their colors may not match in the future, this group of girls will always be able to look back to 2012 and remember when, together, they were perfect.