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Ripon rivals set up for possible second-round match
Ripon High head coach Adrienne Uecker celebrates a point along with the rest of the team in a nonleague match with Sonora on Sept. 4. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Ripon Christian hasn’t had a meaningful volleyball match with neighboring rival Ripon High since leaving the Trans-Valley League after the 2009-10 season.

That could change with RC now in Division IV for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. The Knights (24-6) are seeded fourth with a first-round meeting with No. 13 West Campus (22-9) next Tuesday. The winner gets No. 5 Summerville (16-4) or No. 12 Ripon (15-11) on Thursday.

Ripon Christian has long been the standard bearer among Division V schools in the SJS. Since 1991, when the section first added Division-IV and -V brackets to its postseason pool, the Knights have claimed 15 championship banners, including the last five.

That run ends this year, at least in Division V. That’s because the SJS is now bumping up programs that reach dynasty status to more competitive divisions. It’s called the “Three in a Row” rule, which essentially moves RC up to Division IV after its five-year reign in the lower division.

The Knights, coming off their third straight undefeated march through the Southern League schedule, is a legitimate contender despite the change. Their first hurdle is a West Campus club that finished second in the Golden Empire League.

Ripon, the third-place team out of the TVL, gets a tough first-round draw in Mother Lode League champion Summerville, but the Indians proved during the season that they can play with anyone in this bracket. In nonleague action, they beat third-seeded Sonora in four games, as did Summerville. Ripon also played top-seeded Escalon tough in TVL contests.

Defending SJS Division IV champion Union Mine is seeded eighth, but won last season’s title as the No. 7 squad. The team it beat, Bear River, is No. 2 on Sonora’s end of the bracket.

The championship round is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Nov. 15 at UC Davis.