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EASY AS 1-2-3

Ripon Christian captures third straight section title

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EASY AS 1-2-3

Players and coaches from Ripon Christian High's volleyball team flash three fingers for cameras after winning their third straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship at UC Davis Thursday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 20, 2009 2:30 a.m.
DAVIS — Ripon Christian had not lost a postseason game, let alone a match, leading up to its Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship-round meeting against top-seeded Bradshaw Christian.

It was not the time for things to change, as the Knights blasted Bradshaw in three games (25-21, 25-13, 25-23) for their third consecutive section title — and section-leading 13 overall — at The Pavilion on the UC Davis campus.

Ripon Christian looked nothing like a No. 10 seed, building comfortable leads in each of the three games. With the chance to finish off the sweep, Ripon Christian shook off a tenacious Bradshaw Christian come back and scored the final three points with fans and players from neighboring rival Ripon High wailing in support from the upper-decks.

“This was pretty important,” Ripon Christian’s Kelsey Tillema said. “I know that the last two years we’ve won and I didn’t want to lose that winning streak, so I guess there was a little pressure there, but our team just worked so well together.

“I just wanted to do the best I could for my team and hope I was able to lead by example.”

Tillema was more than an example, turning in a match-high 10 kills to pace the Knights. Tillema also added five blocks. Terpstra dished out a team-leading 28 assists to go along with five kills and a pair of aces.

The Knights opened play with an inspired up-tempo style, outhustling Bradshaw Christian and forcing the squad to accelerate its style, laying the foundation for an insurmountable Ripon Christian lead.

 “They burned their timeouts really fast,” Ripon Christian head coach Tiger Shelton said of his squad’s blistering start. “And we like to run, we like the fast-paced ball where we can get things going. For some reason it just takes the pressure off of the girls.

“As soon as he burned the second timeout we came out and said lets go as fast as we can.”

That is exactly what Ripon Christian did, coming out of a timeout with an 11-6 lead and reeling off nine of the next 12 points behind timely passing from standout junior setter Michelle Terpstra.

Terpstra found outside hitters Mikaela and Morgan Alger as well as senior-leader Tillema in perfect spots, guiding the Knights to an early victory and setting the tone for yet another section banner.

Bradshaw Christian entered the match on a hot-streak, winning all of their postseason games, as did Ripon Christian, but the Prides’ stellar ride ran into a determined Ripon Christian group.

“I think Ripon Christian came out here knowing what they had to do to play in a match like this,” Bradshaw Christian head coach Ric Reyes said. “I feel like we could have hung with them a little better if we were more comfortable, but they were just on. They were not fazed.
“We would come at them with a great play and it didn’t matter. That kind of shook us a little bit.”

Britney Petlansky chipped in with 12 digs and five kills. Mikaela Alger added five kills and sister Morgan had five kills and a game-high five aces.

Ripon Christian’s unprecedented 13th title likely is the only time the Knights were able to accomplish the feat as a surprise. After bringing home the previous two section banners, seeing the team enjoy its third straight clearly surprised some.

“Our team last year was great skill wise,” Tillema said. “This year we are really young, but it just doesn’t matter. Our age has not been an issue this season. We all get along perfect.

“I have never been on a team where we all get along so well.”

The Knights will look forward to hosting a first round match of the Northern California Regional Championships kicking off Tuesday for the 16 qualifying clubs from the northern half of the state. Bracket matchups will be announced Sunday.
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