Fortunes have followed the Ripon High volleyball team for the majority of its 2009 season, but the squads' blessings took new heights when its second-round opponent, Notre Dame High of Salinas, knocked off No. 2 seed Salesian, handing the Indians home court advantage for the CIF NorCal Championship match Saturday.
The Sierra Timberwolves have reason to be thankful.
Shalane Jackson gave a nice glimpse of what to expect from her sophomore season, leading East Union High to a season-opening 49-34 win over the visiting Bear Creek Bruins Wednesday at the Dalben Center.
The loss of record-holding goal scorer Eric Cavanaugh had little effect on Ripon this season.
RIPON - Ripon Christian showed it more than deserved its berth into the CIF Northern California Division V State Volleyball Championships, yet the Knights were unable to extend their magical season after a four-game loss (11-25, 25-22, 13-25 and 18-25) to Castilleja of Palo Alto.
COTTONWOOD - The trip ended up being much longer than the match.
STOCKTON – The Weston Ranch Cougars had a strong sense of how they wanted their season to get underway, but the McNair Eagles had a different agenda beating the Cougars 54-50 in both teams' season opener.
Tiger Shelton sees Ripon Christian's first-round draw in the CIF State Northern California Championships as a good news-bad news proposition.
Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener between No. 8 Manteca and No. 9 Casa Roble at Guss Schmiedt Field didn't start out to be the game it was anticipated to be.
It was business as usual Friday for Sierra High.
TUOLOMNE - They call it the great equalizer.
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.
DAVIS - Ripon has proven time and again that it can beat Christian Brothers.
Eric Reis is a fan of the Sac-Joaquin Section's new playoff format.
Jacob Souza's selfless act led to a Valley Oak League championship for Sierra's baseball team and the Most Valuable Player award.
Jamie DeBruyn takes a defense-first approach to soccer, so it is no surprise that he nominated Ripon High senior defender Zaire Davis for the Trans-Valley League's MVP award.
FAIR OAKS - Anthony Santiago scratched on his final attempt in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division II-III shot put final at Bella Vista High.
Sierra junior Scott Tolman established himself as one of the state's top swimmers Friday at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex.
There was plenty of star power to go around in the loaded Valley Oak League this past girls soccer season, but one stood above the rest to the coaches.
Ripon freshman Taylor Werner is advancing to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters track and field meet in three events, while Ellie Waters and Brandon Roma both qualified in two events.
SACRAMENTO - After losing the winners-bracket semifinal, one the Lancers felt was taken from them, the East Union softball team left little doubt that it belonged in Wednesday's Sac-Joaquin Section championship round against Pioneer.
SACRAMENTO - Sierra wasn't at its best in its Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinal series with Yuba City, but the Timberwolves' best may not have been good enough.
Taariq Davis and Jordan McNeal spearheaded impressive Day 1 efforts for East Union sprinters in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II-III track meet on Wednesday.
STOCKTON - Ripon went down swinging against Dixon pitching ace Tyler MacKenzie.
SACRAMENTO - After being dispatched to the consolation bracket of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III softball championships with a heartbreaking 4-2 loss to Pioneer on Tuesday, East Union bounced back and scored three runs in the fifth inning of the nightcap to pull away from Vanden 7-4 at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
The decorated careers of Mike Lopez and Yok Jing Ma came to an end Tuesday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament.
Freshman Taylor Werner was Ripon High's top performer in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Preliminaries Tuesday at CSU Stanislaus.
Sierra's Scott Tolman set four school records Saturday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Swim Championships on Saturday at Tokay High, and in doing so he qualified for the inaugural state meet.
The East Union softball and Sierra and Ripon baseball teams are all seeking revenge in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.