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Escalon tangles thru two, eventually swept by Indians

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Ripon High's Coryn Hernandez (9) and Cheyann Deprue get their hands in the air for a block during TVL action in Escalon Wednesday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED October 21, 2010 2:58 a.m.
ESCALON – Escalon High had no problem battling with the Ripon Indians and keeping the match skin-tight over the first two games, but the Cougars would eventually succumb to the Trans Valley League’s best, falling in a 3-0 sweep Wednesday to the Indians.

Ripon was forced to fend off a determined Escalon squad in the first two games, yet Ripon pulled away with ease in the finale, winning 25-23, 28-26 and 25-17 to remain perfect in TVL action. The Indians were forced to respond, trailing in each of the first two games, but not once in the third.

“I feel lucky,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said after the win. “Escalon played well and we didn’t play as well as we could have.

“We could have played much better, but we didn’t.”

Attributing the closeness of the match to Ripon’s lackluster effort, seemingly undermines the relentlessness that the Cougars brought to their home court. Up until the late stages of the third game, the two clubs looked equally matched, but it was Ripon (8-0 TVL, 22-5-1 overall) who was able to post a quick 19-13 lead in the final game to finalize the victory.

“I think it was more that Escalon just ran out of gas,” Keethe said. “It was their play that made the difference in the third game; it was not that we played exceptionally well.”

Ripon got its usual superb performance from senior-captain Kelsey Johnston. Johnston shouldered the Indians’ lode at crunch time of both game one and two, pilfering Escalon’s momentum with timely tip-points late in each win.

“We never go into a match expecting a team to not be very good, or thin that they are really, really good,” Johnston said. “We just worry about going in and doing what we are going to do.

“We just do us.”

Johnston turned in a game-high 43 assists and also pulled out 11 digs to assist the cause. Teammates Cheyann Deprue and Coryn Hernandez both tallied 13 kills, while Alyssa Leslie made her presence felt with nine kills. Paulina Ceja amassed 19 digs, while Deprue chipped in with 16.

Ripon will be back on the court for TVL action Monday when they travel to Hughson to take on the Huskies. Ripon will close league play hosting Modesto Christian before traveling to Riverbank and Orestimba. With lofty playoff aspirations, closing out TVL play on a roll is crucial to the Indians’ postseason success.

“Our first goal is to get through the TVL without a blemish and I think we’ll accomplish that goal,” Keethe said. “What we are doing from now on is practicing for the playoffs and the playoff teams.

“And we know the one we may face could be Escalon.”
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