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RIPON ADVANCES TO NORCAL FINALS

Indians get final shot at Christian Brothers

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RIPON ADVANCES TO NORCAL FINALS

The Lady Indians rally together before hosting Notre Dame of Salinas in the CIF State Volleyball Championships at Ripon High Saturday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED November 29, 2009 2:05 a.m.
RIPON – The Notre Dame Spirits fought valiantly to keep their 2009 season alive, but the Ripon Indians would have no such thing, finishing off the Spirits’ season by winning in four in the CIF State Volleyball Championship semi-finals at Ripon High.

Ripon (39-10) thwarted a genuine Notre Dame comeback attempt, ending game four and the match behind a pair of Cheyann DePrue kills. The Indians’ 25-21, 21-25, 25-14 and 25-21 win sets up the final grudge match between Ripon and Christian Brothers Tuesday in Sacramento.

The Indians took the first game which featured 11 ties before dropping game two after holding a 20-18 lead late in the loss. The squad was able to rebound in a hurry, racing to a 20-13 lead before scoring five of the next six points for a two games to one lead.

“I think that they were running scared at one point,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said. “And I fell that really helped us. They came apart for a long while and it truly made a big difference.”

The Indians seized the moment, pushing ahead with the game three win and then jumping out to an insurmountable 17-9 lead in the pivotal fourth game.

“I can’t say that I was totally confident, but I was confident that we were going to win,” Keethe said of the game three win. “Because of the rotation we were in and the rotation they were in. We were going to be able to switch and have the players up front that we needed to and their real good hitter was going to be in the back row.

“So things were looking good for us.”

That was thanks largely in part to the play of junior Coryn Hernandez. Hernandez was huge at the net for the Indians, finishing with a game-high 10 blocks including a string of three consecutive that elevated Ripon to victory in the first game.

“Coryn did really well,” DePrue said. “She stepped up for us. She has been out for awhile with a wrist injury, so I’m glad that she came out ready to win.”

Both DePrue and Hernandez made major contributions in each of the Indians’ three wins, sharing the load amongst Ashley Robinson and Kallie Jacobs to give Ripon all they would need at the net. Paulina Ceja was solid from the libero position, turning in a game-high 22 digs to pace the club.

Kelsey Johnston was the immaculate architect of the offense, delivering the ball to each player in a position where they could shine. Hernandez clearly shined the brightest, turning in arguably her best performance of the season on Ripon’s biggest stage thus far.

“I just went in there and tried my hardest,” Hernandez said after the win. “I knew what I had to do. I haven’t been blocking the best, but I knew I had to bring it tonight because they were a tough team.”

Now Ripon has its eyes set on the Christian Brothers Falcons. The Falcons nearly fumbled their end of the bargain, needing five games to outlast Sacred Heart Prep 22-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18 , 15-12 and advance to the NorCal finals. The Indians came up a few points short in the two squads’ five-game Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV final, making their final shot at Christian Brothers even more gratifying.

“Oh, we’ll be ready,” Keethe said. “We have some real tired kids, some kids that are still sick, but we’ll be ready. We will be making a few adjustments, but the average fan won’t notice them.”
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