Offense might win games, but it was defense that allowed Sierra to hold off a prolific Benicia passing attack that was unlike anything the team has seen so far this year.
It's one thing to run the opposing team's offense during scout-team practice, and it's another guiding a team to a second-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Football playoff victory.
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.
STOCKTON - The Weston Ranch volleyball team is hitting its stride.
East Union plans to throw it back to the 1970s, when losses were hard to come by and names like Herrera and Taylor were still at the forefront of the football program.
Manteca held its own against Central Catholic and nearly forced a fifth set in a 25-19, 13-25, 21-25, 24-26 Valley Oak League loss Tuesday in Modesto.
Ripon Christian secured the outright claim to the Southern League championship with Tuesday's 2-0 victory at Denair.
Vista del Lago and Christian Brothers players took turns taking pictures with their prizes on the 18th green at Manteca Park Golf Course.
Ripon had two golfers finish in the top 10 in Monday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament held at Micke Grove Golf Links, but both played their final round of the season.
It all comes down to Wednesday's winner-take-all Valley Oak League finale between cross-town foes Manteca and East Union.
Sealy McAdams and Elizabeth Tolbert's last two matches in Thursday's Valley Oak League Doubles Tournament held at East Union had entirely different endings.
Alyssa Burch hosted another block party at Manteca High's Winter Gym on Thursday.
Orestimba scored the first and final goals, but Ripon Christian did more than enough damage in between to leave Newman with a 5-2 victory and at least a share of the Southern League championship.
Injury-hampered Ripon gave up two second-half goals by Ulises Ramirez on set pieces and are now in danger of not repeating as league champions no thanks to Thursday's 2-0 loss at Escalon.
Gerardo Romero scored two goals and assisted another in East Union's 4-1 triumph at Sierra on Wednesday.
Weston Ranch's coronation looked as if it was going to be delayed.
Manteca had two game-point opportunities in an attempt to force a fifth set against visiting Weston Ranch but came up short in a 20-25, 25-27, 25-16, 30-32 defeat Wednesday.
East Union won the Valley Oak League title and Brooke Riley is the MVP.