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Deprue keeps Ripon’s TVL win streak alive

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Escalon standout outside hitter Kaitlyn Brayton fires it past Ripon blockers Kallie Jacobs, left, and Lauren Feddersen during the first of five heated games at Ripon High Tuesday.


POSTED September 30, 2009 2:06 a.m.

RIPON — Cheyann Deprue said she took a conservative approach when Ripon teammate Kelsey Johnston set up the final play of the Indians’ riveting Trans Valley League match with Escalon Tuesday.

“I just wanted to get it over. That’s all I thought about,” Deprue said.

There was nothing conservative about what was executed.

Deprue’s 23rd kill of the contest ricocheted hard off the right arm of Escalon libero Lindsey Anderson near the left corner, and the ball hit the floor uncontested as Ripon celebrated its wild fifth-game victory, 15-13.

The TVL’s top two teams split the first four (20-25, 25-20, 25-19, 19-25), with Escalon landing the first blow. There were three lead changes in the deciding game, and neither team shot ahead by more than two points.

Ashley Robinson and Deprue nailed back-to-back kills to give the Indians (5-0, 18-6 overall) a 13-11 lead, but Escalon’s hard-swinging ace, Kaitlyn Brayton, blasted home her own kill to keep the Cougars (4-1, 14-3) alive for the moment.

Brayton was outstanding all over the floor. Her 25 kills led all players, but it was her defense that stood out to Ripon coach Larry Keethe.

“Kaitlyn Brayton came up with some incredible plays during key moments. Her digs, I think, were what kept them in it,” Keethe said. “They just played very well.

“Anybody could have won that game, and I think all of our Escalon matches are going to be like this.”

The victory keeps Ripon undefeated through the first of three rounds of league play and on pace to claim its fourth straight TVL championship and fifth in six years.

With Ripon Christian, winner of the last two Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles, in rebuilding mode, the thought all along was that it was going to be a two-horse race in the TVL.

Escalon proved to be a worthy foil for Ripon, which hasn’t lost a conference match since dropping a five-game thriller to the same Cougars on Oct. 1, 2007. The Indians have since won 29 straight.

“I didn’t know what to expect because we’ve seen them a lot,” Keethe said. “We know exactly what they do and they did it well.”

After losing the first game, Deprue sparked the Indians in the second with six kills and two blocks. Lauren Feddersen (11 kills, three aces) clinched it with two straight kills.

The third game played out in similar fashion, with Deprue continuing her tear and Robinson (19 kills) closing it out with one of her four blocks followed by a well-placed tip.

While Deprue shined, she recognized her teammates for their efforts, from Paulina Ceja (13 digs) in the back row to the pin-point setting of Johnston (55 assists).

“Kelsey sets really well, so that helps a lot,” Deprue said. “Our passing was good, so our whole team stepped up.”

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