RIPON – It was the first Sac-Joaquin Section appearance in school history for Venture Academy. Unfortunately Ripon High is on a quest to reach the Division-IV final for the fifth consecutive season, and the difference was obvious in a 25-5, 25-5, 25-10 first-round Indians win Tuesday.
Ripon came out with an adjusted lineup, saving the talents of Coryn Hernandez and Cheyann Deprue until the second game. Senior captain Kelsey Johnson handle the majority of the action, lifting Ripon to an 18-0 lead to open the match, including five of her game-high 13 aces.
“We wanted everyone to be able to play a lot,” Ripon head coach Larry Keethe said. “That was one of our goals. They did a good job. You have to be careful not to do stupid things, and they really did fine.”
Ripon was not threatened at any point during the match, putting together the majority of its points with underclassman on the court accompanying Johnston. Venture Academy made its postseason debut in just its third season, nonetheless, the Mustangs were clearly outmatched.
“That team was pretty good,” Mustangs outside hitter Anissa Espinoza said. “They were very organized and they had some powerful hitters. We were the first Venture volleyball team to make the playoffs, so it’s been a fun ride.
“We worked hard to get here, maybe next year we can go a little deeper.”
Ripon broke out to quick leads in the first two games, but Venture Academy found some life in the third. The Mustangs were within a few points of Ripon until midway through the final game, when the Indians got on top 10- 7 and separated for good.
Ripon was led by Deprue and Johnston in kills, both turning in six to pace the club. Both Bridgette Gall and Hernandez added five. Tyler White and Chelsea Ioppini both chipped in with three in the win.
The Indians will continue their road to the section final Thursday when they play host to No. 9 seed Colfax High, who beat the Central Catholic Raiders in their first-round matchup.
“In games like these you take to take it back it make sure we know it’s about the team,” Hernandez said. “We try to always have a good time out there on the court, but tonight we were able to have an exceptional game.
“We expect the same from any of our girls that are on the court, but we wanted to get them out there and get them some experience.”