Hailey Hilvers and Hannah Fluegel started their day by making commitments to the colleges of the choice, and ended it by leading Central Valley Christian High to a Central Section Division II volleyball playoff victory.
Hours after Hilvers signed a letter of intent with Fresno Pacific and Fluegel with Baylor, the senior duo delivered 16 kills and 32 assists, respectively, in the second-seeded Cavaliers’ 25-23, 25-15, 25-15 quarterfinals victory over No. 7 Golden West on Thursday.
CVC, the defending D-II section champion, advances to face No. 3 Exeter on Nov. 17 in the semifinals. The Cavaliers have beaten the Monarchs twice (25-17, 27-25, 25-20 and 25-19, 26-24, 21-25, 23-25, 15-8) this season. Exeter advanced with a 22-25, 25-9, 25-19, 25-21 victory over No. 6 El Diamante.
“I love playing with my team and want to go as far as we can,” Hilvers said. “I’m also excited to sign with Fresno Pacific and start a new chapter. It’s been an exciting day.”
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I love playing with my team and want to go as far as we can. I’m also excited to sign with Fresno Pacific and start a new chapter. It’s been an exciting day.
Hailey Hilvers, who helped lead Central Valley Christian to a Central Section volleyball playoff victory hours after signing a college scholarship with Fresno Pacific
The Cavaliers hadn’t played in seven days after wrapping up Central Sequoia League play and receiving a first-round playoff bye.
And a little rest showed in the first set as Golden West (18-11 and tri-champions of the West Yosemite League) stormed out to a 19-10 following consecutive kills from Taylor Stainbrook.
But CVC clawed back into it behind Hilvers and Fluegel. Hilvers had five kills and Fluegel two perfectly placed tips and several assists as the Cavaliers rallied.
“We tried our hardest to play as a team,” Fluegel said. “We just trust each other, that’s why we were so resilient.”
The Cavaliers led throughout the second set and didn’t trail after an early 2-2 tie in the third en route to the sweep.
“We had to get over the jitters, then we went back to playing simple volleyball,” Hilvers said. “We always do better when we don’t focus on the scores but the team.”
Hilvers and Fluegel are two of the eight section volleyball players who signed with colleges Thursday as reported to The Bee.
Other signees include Buchanan’s trio of Rachel Arkelian (Fresno Pacific), Danielle Rodriguez (Cal State Stanislaus) and Brooke Watts (Biola), Clovis East’s Thaliana Grajeda (San Jose State), Memorial’s Grace Campbell (Columbia) and Independence’s Breana Rummels (Colorado State).
“Their program is awesome,” Fluegel said of Baylor. “I was looking for a school where I could grow in my faith and develop as an athlete. Baylor provides all of that.”
First-year Central Valley Christian coach Sarah Oskam predicted collegiate success for Hilvers and Fluegel.
“I think both will really excel at the next level because of their willingness to work hard and learn, and their humility,” Oskam said. “They are both seniors and could be coasting right now, but both want to get better and learn more.”
CVC is chasing a third consecutive section title and the program’s 15th over four playoff divisions during the last 21 seasons. The Cavaliers beat Redwood in the D-II final last season and D-III championship in 2013.
The section finals in all five divisions will be held Nov. 21 at West Hills College-Lemoore.
I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. We’re definitely taking steps in the right direction.
Central Valley Christian volleyball coach Sarah Oskam, whose team has reached the Central Section Division II semifinals.
“I’m really pleased with how we responded to the first match nerves. Our seniors did a phenomenal job leading in that first set and in the match,” Oskam said. “I’m also really happy with where we’re at. I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. We’re definitely taking steps in the right direction.”