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Oakdale rallies from 9-0 deficit in Game 2, sweeps

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Ripon blocker Paige Goodger deflects the hit of Oakdale’s Jennifer Guzman during a nonleague match Thursday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED September 6, 2013 1:20 a.m.

RIPON — Adrienne Uecker hoped that Tuesday’s Foundation Game victory over rival Ripon Christian would be the boost her Ripon High volleyball team needed to realize its potential.

Thursday’s three-game loss to visiting Oakdale was a reminder to the Indians that they still have a ways to go.

Save for one early stretch of high-level play from Ripon, it was all Mustangs throughout as they stampeded their way to a 25-13, 25-20, 25-13 win. The Indians, who are now 0-1 since Foundation Games do not count against records, tallied the first nine points of the second set before Oakdale (5-1) mounted a furious comeback and retook control of the match.

“Even though we had some really great moments, we’re just not adjusting quick enough right now,” Uecker said. “Against RC we adjusted well and did a good job of moving the ball around. Tonight we were doing the same thing over and over and kept hitting into their blocks.

“We went away from what we were doing right, but the kids know they have it in them. We just have to be more consistent.”

The sweep of Ripon Christian marked Ripon’s first win in four tries for the Indians’ third-year coach. Last year they lost twice to RC, including a second-round showdown in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs. That was the first time the neighboring schools had met for a postseason volleyball match.

“That was definitely a hump that we needed to overcome,” Uecker said. “That was one we wanted, but I didn’t want us to slide backwards after that. It’s still an uphill battle.”

An uphill battle it was Thursday against the reigning Valley Oak League co-champion. Oakdale was fully in command of the opening set and even led 20-9 at one point following Jennifer Guzman’s kill.

The Emilys jump started Ripon’s impressive run to start the second game. Emily O’Brien recorded an ace on the opening serve, and Emily Brutout later pounded two straight kills to make it 7-0. Her second kill was set up by an impressive dig from Danny Arteaga, who finished with 35. Brutout capped the 9-0 flurry with yet another kill and would finish with seven.

“Danny Arteaga is just a beast back there,” Uecker said. “Passing was not the problem, but our hitting and at some points our serving was off tonight.”

A stretch of net violations called on the Indians also led to their unraveling in Game 2. They were ahead 16-12 before the Mustangs put together their own 9-0 barrage. Ripon was whistled for three net violations during that stretch and several more throughout the second game. A service error from Ripon clinched the set for Oakdale.

“I don’t ever want to blame the refs because I do think our kids could have played better, but those are momentum changers,” Uecker said. “We you get called for under-the-nets five times in a row that’s pretty tough.”

The third game was virtually a repeat of the first, with Oakdale staking a 22-9 lead.

Setter Kylie Stevens dished out 21 assists for Ripon, and O’Brien ended up with five aces. Karisa Carlson and Shannon Wesley each had five blocks.

Uecker was able to take Thursday’s defeat in stride, partly because she coaches four Oakdale players on her own high-competition travel club. Also, these matches have no bearing on league titles and postseason positioning.  Ripon expects to see other formidable opponents in its tough nonleague schedule as it prepares for the rigors of the Trans-Valley League.

Up next is Division-I Pitman next Monday, then a trip to Sonora on Tuesday. Sonora shared the VOL championship with Oakdale last season.

“I’m still very confident in our team,” Uecker said. “This is only our second match.”

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