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Brayton too much for RC in TVL opener

Indians off to hot start with sweep of Hughson

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Brayton too much for RC in TVL opener

Libero Laura Berry scoops a dig in front of teammate Morgan Alger Tuesday at Ripon Christian in a 3-0 loss to Escalon.

BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin


POSTED September 16, 2009 12:22 a.m.
RIPON — Following a 17-25, 14-25, 20-25 loss to Escalon in the Trans Valley League opener Tuesday at home, Ripon Christian head coach Tiger Shelton said that Cougars outside hitter Kaitlin Brayton could be the best player in the conference this season.

Brayton did nothing to dissuade that notion, as the senior sent home 18 kills and scooped 19 digs in leading Escalon to 1-0 on the young season.

Ripon Christian, coming off back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championships, is in rebuilding mode this season, and although the final score didn’t show it, the Knights were competitive throughout Tuesday’s contest.

“We showed signs of brilliance, there’s definitely signs,” Shelton said. “Some of the hits some of the younger girls made, those are big time plays, and I couldn’t be more proud.  But at the same time, Katie Aprile dumps some serves in the middle, and those are young plays.

“But we’re going to figure those out. There is a big margin for getting better.”

Aprile finished with three aces and 26 assists in playing the yin to Brayton’s yang, but RC turned in some crooked numbers as well.

Michelle Terpstra finished with 21 assists, primarily to Kelsey Tillema and Mikaela Alger, who both finished with six kills.

Tillema and Emily Leahy both had a trio of blocks, and Morgan Alger chipped in RC’s lone ace.

“All I want to do is compete,” Shelton said. “Hopefully we’ll play better against Escalon the next time we meet them, and that’s the goal.”

Freshman Brittany Petlanski showed Tuesday why Shelton has hope for the future.

Petlanski opened the contest with a kill to give the Knights their first and only lead on the night, and was active both in the front court and back. Petlanski also made a few rookie mistakes, but the positives far outweighed the negatives.

The Alger sisters, both sophomores, also showed signs that the talent is there, and that with a little more experience, eventually the Knights will return to the form that has made RC the most prominent D-V program in the section.

“It’s Escalon,” Shelton said. “Although we’ve gotten them the past couple of years, it’s still a good fight, a good rivalry behind it all. I enjoyed it. Teresa (Williamson) does a good job with their program, they play good defense.

“But Kaitlin Brayton is a monster.”

Ripon 3, Hughson 0

In Hughson, Kelsey Johnston continued to show why her sizable footsteps are filling in nicely where Kirsten Duren’s left off as the super setter turned in 44 assists and six aces in a 25-14, 25-10, 25-8 pasting of the Huskies.

Lauren Feddersen had eight kills, as did Cheyann DePrue (six digs) and Ashley Robinson (three blocks).

“We played well,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said. “Usually we play to the level of our competition, but this time we played much better.”

The Indians (1-0 TVL, 14-5 overall) host Modesto Christian Thursday.

Ripon’s sophomores won 25-3, 25-4, and the freshmen fell in two.

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