VOLLEYBALL: Bullpups best Hawks

The Hanford Bullpups beat the Mission Oak Hawks in the second to last game before the playoffs, stand third in the West Yosemite League

TULARE – The Hanford Bullpups swept the Mission Oak Hawks in the second to last game of the league play for the West Yosemite League.

The Bullpups were steady throughout all three sets, setting up their combinations on each and every play. Senior and captain Rikki Adams led the Hanford offense as a setter and an outside and opposite hitter. While the Bullpups easily took the first and third sets, the Hawks put up a good fight in the second.

“We did have some rough spots but we pulled it out,” Hanford head coach Teagan Silveira said. “We stayed together as a team.”

The Bullpups came out strong in the first set. Their combinations set up kills that had the Hawks hustling all over the court while the occasional change up to a gentle tip or set over the net kept them from getting into predictable patterns. Adams played an excellent game in every position across the front row while also serving up several aces.

On the Hawks side, Haley Sanchez, a freshman defensive specialist stood out. She was all over the court, trying to get her feet under the ball every time it was sent back to the Mission Oak side. The Hawks have had a few changes throughout the season and they have struggled to gel as a team.

“I think we struggle mentally because we’re not doing what we do in practice,” Mission Oak head coach Sara Gauna said. “We’re trying to find that one group that clicks.”

Hanford has had some ups and downs as well throughout the season. They have a 15-11 overall record and a 5-4 league record, putting them third in the WYL. Heading into playoffs, they’re well behind Dinuba and Lemoore, who both have only one defeat in league play, but the Bullpups will look to have a solid playoff run.

“We’re just working at being a team,” Silveira said. “Making sure we’re not working as individuals, but working as a team.”

Hanford will face Lemoore at home on Oct. 20 for their final game of the regular season.

This was Mission Oak’s final home game of the season and they honored their three seniors, Jimena Barajas, Stevie Martin and Mia Renteria who were presented with gifts from the team and shared their favorite memories. All of the seniors this year unfortunately only had three seasons of volleyball due to the Covid pandemic canceling the 2020 season.

The Hawks are tied for fifth in the WYL with a league record of 1-8. While they haven’t had the season any team hopes for, they won’t let it go to waste.

“We’re working on having fun,” Gauna said. “It’s been a rocky road and at this point, I just want them to have a great end to the season.”

Mission Oak will travel to face their final league opponent, Dinuba, on Oct. 20.

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