Tracy 3, Buhach Colony 0

The Tracy High volleyball team has advanced in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, and has also qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation state tournament following the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over Buhach Colony of Atwater on Thursday at the Bill Swenson Gymnasium at Tracy High.

The Bulldogs (25-8, 7-3 Tri-City Athletic League) defeated the Buhach Colony Thunder (21-10, 10-2 Central California Conference) with scores of 25-17, 25-18, 26-24, in their quarterfinal match of the SJS Division 2 championship tournament.

“I definitely think that we came in super-hyped and super-excited for that game, just because we came off of a great win in three sets in the past game versus Rodriguez (on Tuesday),” said junior Natalie Laiolo, adding that the full bleachers, complete with the Tracy High marching band, helped the team ramp up its intensity. “Having the band here and having our home fans here helps a lot. We definitely had the momentum going.”

Tracy held the advantage most of the way through the first set, but competition was close for most of the way with the Thunder staying within 3 points of Tracy and tying it up a few times until junior Ariel Reynolds came to the service line at the end for a string of points, with Laiolo, Tracy’s attacking leader with 17 kills for the night, making effective shots at the end.

Tracy took the advantage early in the second set, but Buhach Colony was able to get close midway through. Reynolds again led the Bulldogs on a series of points -- including a couple serving aces plus effective shots from Laiolo, freshman Chloe Lemons and senior Leila Sardinha – to give Tracy a comfortable lead.

Buhach Colony grabbed and held the lead early in the third set and maintained the advantage until Sardinha came to the service line for a string of points, with Laiolo again proving dominant with her powerful hitting past the Thunder’s front line.

“We knew they had some good hitters and we knew their defense was weak, so we wanted to capitalize on that and I think we did really well on that,” Laiolo said.

The Thunder took the lead back, but after a contested out-of-bounds call the Bulldogs picked up their intensity again, with Sardinha making effective shots to tie it up again, 23-23. After trading the service a couple times, Sardinha came to the service line, and with two more powerful shots from Laiolo brought the Bulldogs got the win.

“We understood that we just have to pick up our intensity and minimize our errors,” Sardinha said. “We wanted this win. We wanted it more than anything, so we all banded together. We were going to get this point. One point at a time we were going to focus.”

Tracy coach Cat Ebojo-Vaughns added that the intensity of the final set is a sample of what the Bulldogs can expect moving forward.

“We’ve been really focusing on urgency at practice. That’s something that we tend to fall short on sometimes. We take our talent for granted, thinking that it’s going to get us out of things,” she said. “The focus on urgency is probably what made them a lot tougher tonight.”

Sardinha finished the night with 12 kills and she had three blocks. Lemons had four kills, senior Briahna Garcia scored four kills and two serving aces, senior Teia Magaoay had 23 assists, and Laiolo provided 14 assists.

Tracy continues its playoff run with a semifinal match on Tuesday against Vacaville, with the match beginning at 7 p.m. at Tracy High. The winner will advance to the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 9 at a time and location to be announced. The state tournament begins on Tuesday, Nov. 12, with sites to be announced.

Nevada Union 3, Kimball 0

The Kimball Jaguars finished their season with a 3-0 loss at Nevada Union in Grass Valley in the quarterfinal match of the SJS Division 3 bracket.

Nevada Union (40-10, 8-2 Foothill Valley League) won it with scores of 25-19, 25-12, 25-14.

Leading the way for the Jaguars (26-7, 9-3 Valley Oak League) were senior Rachel Van Katwyk with six kills and junior Samantha Mayer with four kills and 13 assists. Junior Rein Bocage had 17 digs, and junior Nicole Mayer had nine digs, two kills and one serving ace.

Nevada Union advances to Tuesday’s semifinals, and will face Hilmar.

Contact Sports Editor Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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