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Ripon squads: New season, same goal

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Ripon's shot at a fifth consecutive Trans Valley League title looks pretty good with a pair of the league's best players, Kelsey Johnston, right, and Cheyann Deprue back for their senior seasons.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED August 21, 2010 2:01 a.m.
A quick peak at both Ripon High and Ripon Christian’s 2010 volleyball schedules leaves little doubt as to where both of these recently dominant programs expect to be in November. Returning to the postseason is on the top of both school’s priority lists, only this season Ripon Christian will travel along a different path.

The Knights are coming off a Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Championship, outplaying No. 1 seed Bradshaw Christian for the section banner. The Knights will no longer compete in the Trans Valley League, debuting in the Southern League alongside Waterford, Turlock Christian, Denair, Le Grand, Mariposa County, Gustine and Delhi.

Making a return trip to the section championship will have to be navigated through the unchartered waters of the Southern League. The voyage will also have to be made without last year’s all-everything player Kelsey Tillema and with significant contribution from a high school rookie.

“It is not likely most of the time that you are going to have a freshman come in and impact, but we have been blessed,” Ripon Christian head coach Tiger Shelton said. “Brittany Petlansky came in and did a phenomenal job last year and this year Andie (Shelton) will come in, and she’s not your typical freshman.”

Andie is Shelton’s daughter and will undoubtedly have a significant role in the Knights’ plans. She is coming off of a summer circuit that landed her in the 14-year old A-1 Open Division national team in Wisconsin, along with a national championship with her club level team.

Andie will accompany returning starters Michelle Terpstra and twins Morgan and Mikayla Alger on the Southern League scene. Ripon Christian’s expected post season run won’t get its customary TVL run for preparation, making the Knights’ non-league schedule as important as it has been through recent history.

“Our preseason schedule is really good. We start off with a scrimmage and then we head up to Woodland and play a bunch of Sacramento teams there,” coach Shelton said. “Then we go to Ripon for the Foundation game, after that is one challenging road trip. We go to Rocklin, which is humongous, and then we go to St.Mary’s (Stockton), which is humongous.

“So make no mistake about it, we’re seeing the world.”

The Ripon Indians’ non-league stroll in preparation of their quest for a fifth straight TVL title has no traces of simplicity either. The Indians will meet up with six playoff squads from a season ago, closing with defending Division IV section champion Christian Brothers before a Sept. 27 TVL showdown with Escalon.

“We’re getting ready to win the TVL and then move on to the step after that,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said. “Linden won their league, St. Mary’s won their league, Lodi won their league and Christian Brothers won their league. And of course, we have Hilmar and Orestimba who won their leagues in our league now.

“We have got some good matches and we’ll need them.”

The Indians will have the luxury of relying on The Bulletin’s 2009 All-Area Volleyball MVP Kelsey Johnston, as well as all-TVL players Cheyann Deprue and Coryn Hernandez. Senior Paulina Ceja will also be a key component in the Indians’ expected success.

“I think Escalon, Hilmar and Orestimba will fight for second place,” Keethe said. “I don’t know who is going to win it, but that’s who’s fighting for second. We definitely want to win our fifth straight. That is our first goal.

“We have goals after that, but that is first.”

Keethe’s version of the team’s aspirations are identical to that of his players, at least those of  his returning MVP.

“We obviously want to win TVL again, and we want to finish section champions and finally beat Christian Brothers,” Johnston said. “I know that is how i feel, I sure hope my girls feel the same way.

“I really like this group. We don’t have any of that drama and everyone is working really hard and together.”

The Knights echo Ripon’s sentiments when it comes to their postseason aspirations, but their aspirations to conclude their initial Southern League season as champions is a different tune for Ripon Christian’s program.

“We haven’t had a league title in a long time, Ripon has pretty much dominated that and Escalon dominated before that.” coach Shelton said. “I don’t know what this league has, but I know Turlock Christian is always tough, yet I’m not really sure.

“We’ve scheduled everything the same; we’re trying to play the best ball that we can and let the chips fall where they may.”

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