View Mobile Site

Section titles on line for Ripon, RC

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED November 18, 2010 2:51 a.m.
One streak could continue, while another could come to an end.

Ripon and Ripon Christian will cheer each other on for the fourth straight year tonight at UC Davis, the site of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s championship matches.

For top-seeded Ripon (33-6), tonight will mark its fifth consecutive finals appearance in Division IV. The Indians have lost four straight championship-round contests to Sacramento powerhouse Christian Brothers, which now competes in Division III. They will instead meet an opponent they are less familiar with in No. 2 Golden Sierra, which they last faced, and swept, in the 2007 semifinals.

Ripon Christian (26-7), the No. 1 team in Division V, has two streaks on the line. The Knights are undefeated in 13 section-title match appearances and are after their fourth in a row.

Last year as the 10th seed, they swept No. 1 Bradshaw Christian, which just so happens to be their opponent tonight, to capture the blue pennant.

It’s almost a downer for Ripon that Christian Brothers is no longer in the D-IV bracket.

Ripon had lost eight straight to CB since 2006 — four coming in the section finals, two in the NorCal finals and two more in non-league play — going into the 2010 season.

The Indians finally got the better of their arch-nemesis on Sept. 22 with a surprisingly easy sweep of CB, which has a new coach this year after losing its top players last year. But in the deeper Division III tournament, the ninth-seeded Falcons upset No. 1 Vanden in three games last Thursday, Nov. 11 before getting eliminated by No. 5 Union Mine in the semifinals.

Perhaps Golden Sierra (21-11) of Garden Valley can be Ripon’s new postseason foil.

So far, Ripon has swept all of its postseason foes — No. 16 Venture Academy, No. 9 Colfax, No. 13 Bear River — with little resistance, though dangerous Colfax, Ripon coach Larry Keethe says, may be one of the top three teams in the Division-III bracket.

The Grizzles of Golden Sierra, who have a four-game loss against Colfax in non-league play, are winners of 12 straight and champions of the Sierra Delta League. Their lone conference loss is to Bradshaw Christian in five games.

Captain and setter Jessica Condit is one of three seniors on the team.

Golden Sierra could give Ripon some trouble with its height. Katie Christner, a 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter, leads the team in hitting and digs and is supported by 5-11 junior middle blocker Caitlin Hess and 5-10 sophomore Alexis Hall.

In Division V, No. 7 Bradshaw is this year’s version of RC having “upset” No. 2 Big Valley Christian and No. 3 Turlock Christian to get to the championship match.

Ripon Christian — now in the Southern League, where it garnered its first conference title since 1996 — used to be in a similar position having been in the competitive Trans Valley League. A third-place finish in the TVL would often lead to unfavorable seeds for RC, meaning long trips to unfamiliar corners of the section for each playoff round.

The Pride (21-13) is led by 5-11 outside hitter Patricia Orozco, 6-foot middle blocker Janai Johnson, 5-11 outside hitter Alicia Mendoza and defensive specialist Stephanie Azevedo.

The Division-V field is a condensed version compared to years past, with the section opening a sixth division and placing eight qualifiers, instead of the usual 16, in each bracket.

Ripon Christian didn’t lose a single game in four section playoff matches in 2009 and is again perfect this year heading into the finals. The Knights are coming off a semifinal sweep of No. 5 Vacaville Christian, the runner-up of the league that also houses Golden Sierra and Bradshaw.

No matter what, the season continues beyond today for Ripon and RC, as the finalists from the section’s D-IV and D-V tournaments qualify for the CIF Northern California Regional Championships.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...