Ripon High stages come­back to beat Ripon Chris­tian High

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - By JONAMAR JACINTO

RIPON — Ripon coach Tay­lor White has had enough of these five-set matches.

Her In­di­ans pulled out another marathon vic­tory Thurs­day, com­ing back to beat neigh­bor­ing foe Ripon Chris­tian 26-28, 25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 15-11 in front of a bois­ter­ous crowd.

“I just told them I’m go­ing to be the first 24-year-old with a head full of gray hair,” White said. “I guess they love do­ing that to me, but it def­i­nitely keeps that fac­tor of ex­cite­ment go­ing.”

It’s the sec­ond five-set win in as many nights for the In­di­ans (4-3), who bat­tled back from a two-game deficit to knock off East Union on Wed­nes­day. They also dropped a five-set­ter Tuesday at Lin­den, which clinched it in the fifth, 17-15. And last week, reign­ing Valley Oak League cham­pion Man­teca nipped Ripon in five.

“I guess we just like to make it in­ter­est­ing,” se­nior out­side hit­ter Mia Van Lewen said. She led all play­ers with 17 kills

and was in­stru­men­tal in ig­nit­ing the come­back in Game 2 when Ripon Chris­tian (2-3), rid­ing the mo­men­tum of its thrilling first-set win, staked an 8-3 lead.

A ball-han­dling vi­o­la­tion helped slow RC’s roll, and Van Lewen served five straight points as Ripon took a 9-8 ad­van­tage on a kill from Jor­dynn Rus­sell (nine kills).

“That’s when it fi­nally clicked for us,” Van Lewen said. “For some rea­son we do have mo­ments when we don’t start off that strong.”

Van Lewen had eight kills in the sec­ond game alone, and Shan­non John­son served six con­sec­u­tive points in­clud­ing an ace to help Ripon pull away.

Ripon never trailed in the de­cid­ing fifth set, and it was sopho­more Syd­ney Thoma­son who put it away with a kill. The soft­ball stand­out du­eled with Ripon Chris­tian fresh­man Emily Van Gronin­gen (14 kills) in a matchup of young and promis­ing mid­dles.

“That felt so good,” Thoma­son said of her fin­ish­ing blow.” Go­ing five sets again, we just have to win that — we have to. I went all out on in the end. It was so com­pet­i­tive and so much fun.”

Thoma­son fin­ished with nine kills and was in on six blocks. Rachel Sausedo (27 as­sists, 12 digs, four kills) and Shan­non John­son (20 as­sists) shared set­ting du­ties, and libero Deven Stokes col­lected 18 digs.

Ripon Chris­tian’s Re­nae Heida and Macken­zie Miller slugged 13 and 12 kills, re­spec­tively, while Tay­lor Al­ger dis­trib­uted 45 as­sists.

Knights coach Jo­ce­lyn Benizger, whose club has lost three straight against tough opponents, hopes the ex­pe­ri­ence will help as the Knights be­gin South­ern League play next week.

“Ripon is a team that has had some suc­cess over the years, and they come walk­ing in say­ing, ‘we got this,’” Ben­ziger said. “Since this is new ter­ri­tory for us be­ing able to com­pete with a team like that we had those mo­ments of not know­ing how to just stay the course.

“We’re go­ing to have league games that aren’t go­ing to have the same kind of en­ergy and in­ten­sity, so hope­fully this is enough of a taste of that to help us for the play­offs.”


TOP PHOTO: Syd­ney Thoma­son (12) and the rest of the Ripon vol­ley­ball team cel­e­brate af­ter her kill sealed the In­di­ans’ five-set vic­tory at Ripon Chris­tian on Thurs­day. BOT­TOM PHOTO: Ripon Chris­tian mid­dle blocker Emily Van Gronin­gen gets the de­flec­tion at the net in front of Ripon’s Rachel Sausedo (4).


Rachel Sausedo (4) of Ripon sets the ball as Mia Van Lewen gets ready to de­liver the spike against host Ripon Chris­tian.

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