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Ripon falls to Christian Brothers again

Indians nearly pull off improbable comeback

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Ripon falls to Christian Brothers again

Sonoma State bound Ashley Robinson did all she could do during Ripon's Sac-Joaquin Section final loss to Christian Brothers High Thursday.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED November 20, 2009 2:26 a.m.
DAVIS — Ripon has proven time and again that it can beat Christian Brothers.

The Indians just haven’t.

Their best chance to do so may have been Thursday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship match at UC Davis.

Down two games, the No. 3 Indians turned a quick and disappointing sprint into a riveting five-game marathon but fell short — 14-25, 20-25, 25-14, 25-23, 12-15. Ripon was on the cusp of winning the program’s first section title since 1983 but couldn’t hold onto its 9-5 lead in the deciding game.

Top-seeded Christian Brothers (27-10) claimed its fifth straight section title, the last four coming at Ripon’s expense.

“I’m not tired of going to the finals, I’m just tired of not winning,” Ripon coach Larry Keethe said with a chuckle. “We came pretty close. We came very, very close.”

The Falcons have beaten Ripon (38-10) eight times in as many matches since 2006 — three in non-league play, and the other was an epic come-from-behind victory in which they were down two games in the Northern California Regional Championships final round last year.

“We just all came together after that second game and said, ‘We are not letting them beat us that easily,’ especially after losing to them so many times,” Ripon middle blocker Ashley Robinson said “We definitely did prove our point.

“We feel that we’re better than them, and we could have won.”

The Sonoma State-bound senior came up with some timely kills late in the contest, finishing with 15 to tie Christian Brothers standouts Katie Hoekman and Erika Cuevas for match-high honors.

In Game 4, Christian Brothers battled back from a 17-22 deficit and eventually knotted it at 23, but Robinson extended the match with two vicious spikes.

Robinson struck again on back-to-back plays in the fifth game to get Ripon on board after the Indians yielded the first three points.

Outside hitter Coryn Hernandez later smacked two straight kills, and Robinson rung up a service ace to give Ripon its 9-5 lead and cap the momentum swing.

Christian Brothers called time out, and off it went. Cuevas scored on a pair of kills to jump start the comeback and took the lead for good at 12-11 after 6-foot-4 Megan Anders dropped in a tip.

The Falcons ended the match with kills from Whitney Swain, Anders and Hoekman.

“Our passing went (south),” Keethe said. “Once we got it back our offense fell apart. We just didn’t quite put it all together all at once.”

Hernandez, a key player during Ripon’s playoff run after missing most of the Trans Valley League season with a wrist injury, finished with 10 kills and four blocks.

Cheyann Deprue added nine kills, Paulina Ceja recorded 22 digs and setter Kelsey Johnston had 46 assists.

“I thought that this was actually are year to do it,” Robinson said. “It was disappointing that we couldn’t finish it, but we have nothing to be ashamed of — it was the best we’ve played.”

Ripon is not done yet.

The section finalists in all divisions qualify for the Northern California Regional Championships set to begin Tuesday. Having lost, Ripon will open on the road.

First-round pairings will be posted on the California Interscholastic Federation website (www.cifstate.org) on Sunday evening.

“Last year, we got through NorCals and met (Christian Brothers) in the finals,” Keethe said. “We’re hoping to do that again, and if we do I think we have a really good chance of beating them if we make it that far.”
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