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Ripon returning to fourth straight D-IV final

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Ripon High outside hitter Cheyann DePrue connects on one of her match-high 12 kills past the blocks of Summerville's Leah Renwick (10) and Samantha Darrin during a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV s...


POSTED November 18, 2009 2:32 a.m.
RIPON — Just getting to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV girls volleyball championship at UC Davis Thursday would have thrilled the seventh-seeded Summerville Bears, but the berth merely seemed like business as usual for No. 3 in its 3-0 sweep over the visiting Mother Lode League champions.
Ripon outlasted a scrappy Summerville group 25-19 in the first game before settling down and racing the Bears out of the gym 25-9, 25-15 to advance to the section final for the fourth consecutive season.

“I think we played very good volleyball,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said. “We did exactly what we were hoping to do. They came out tough, but we were able to pull away.”

Ripon was able to do just that behind a superb effort from junior setter Kelsey Johnston. Johnston was able to get all of the Ripon power hitters involved, keeping Summerville under a barrage of firepower that would eventually wear them down.

“We basically just want to run a fast offense,” Johnston said after the win. “That’s what we have to do because the other side had some big blockers up. I just try and put the ball where they want it so they can hit it.

“When our passing is on our offense runs smooth.”

Johnston dished out 28 assists, added three blocks, six aces and hammered home eight kills in her efforts. Teammate Cheyann DePrue turned in a game-high 12 kills, while outside hitter Ashley Robinson added nine kills. Lauren Goeppert had eight digs and junior Paulina Ceja pulled out nine digs.

Lauren Fedderson made her presence felt with eight kills and also chipped in a team-high four blocks in the semi-final.

Now the Indians (37-9) will transition their focus to Christian Brothers High. The two programs will meet for yet another section title match and Ripon has no desire to close out its season with another disappointing second place finish to the Falcons.

“This is a really good feeling,” Robinson said. “I’m excited we have the opportunity, but hopefully we are able to win this year.

“It would be nice to say we won the title.”

Robinson will be making her fourth trip to the section’s biggest stage, but it will take a complete team effort if the Indians are going to get passed a phenomenal Christian Brothers team. The Falcons have the division’s No. 1 seed and it will take a mighty impressive performance to knock off the defending section champions.

“If we want this section title we’re going to have to block, hit, dig, serve,” Keethe said. “We will have to do it all because Christian Brothers is an excellent team. I think this could be the best Christian Brothers team ever. We have a tough road ahead of us, but we can do it.

“If we play the best we’ve ever played and they have a bit of a letdown, we’re going to beat them.”

The Indians quest for a section title has been halted by the Falcons each of the past three seasons. Top-seeded Christian Brothers, which beat No. 4 Escalon in three games Tuesday, swept Ripon in 2007 and 2008, while winning in four back in 2006.
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