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14 UP, 14 DOWN
RC completes SL season undefeated
Trish Middleton of visiting Mariposa hits it into the block of Ripon Christian’s Cassidy De Rousse with teammate Michelle Terpstra (2) providing support. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin
RIPON — With the outright championship of the Southern League already in hand, Ripon Christian had one more thing to cross off its list.
Well, two.

The Knights completed their first run through the SL since leaving for the Trans Valley League three decades ago without a loss, sweeping (25-21, 25-13, 25-12) runner-up Mariposa Tuesday.

The championship is RC’s first since winning a share of the TVL title in 1996.

“It’s been a while,” RC coach Tiger Shelton said. “They won a state championship in 1999 but didn’t even win league. It’s been a long time coming.”

Setter Michelle Terpstra, one of two Ripon Christian seniors honored Tuesday, said that a perfect record in league served as motivation for the team, but there was extra incentive at play.

The Knights wanted to beat Mariposa (11-3) more convincingly this time around. In their first meeting on Oct. 7, Ripon Christian (14-0, 24-7 overall) escaped Mariposa with a five-game win.

“We wanted to do it in three and show that we’re the big team in league now,” Terpstra said.


Mariposa held its ground at the start, though.

Ripon Christian led 9-4 in the first game, but the Grizzlies, anchored by big-hitting Khrissy Schellentrager (7 kills, 2 blocks), rallied to go ahead 13-11 — their largest, and final, lead of the match.

But Mariposa was unable to handle the strong jump serve of Terpstra, which was the case the entire way. She served in seven straight points, three of them aces, to put RC back up comfortably, 19-13.

Terpstra, who finished with eight aces to go with 19 aces, went on to serve the first seven points of the second game, and freshman Andie Shelton accounted for the final five.

Mariposa proved it could hang with RC in short spurts, but the Grizzlies couldn’t pass off serves consistently enough to get over the hump.

Ripon Christian did have other methods to get its points, with emphatic kills coming from the likes of Mikaela Alger (10 kills), Emily Leahy (4 blocks), sophomore Cassidy De Rousse and Shelton.

Libero Brittany Petlansky contributed 15 digs to the cause.

“This team took us to five last time at their place. It could have easily gone three or five either way — they played great ball,” Coach Shelton said. “Tonight, they fell apart. But that’s a part of having them at our place in front of a packed house. They’re not a bad team at all.”

Ripon Christian can now concentrate its efforts on the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-V playoffs and beyond. The Knights own a section-best 13 championships and are three-time defending champions.

Ripon Christian will likely be the top-seeded team when the eight-team SJS Division-V tournament begins Nov. 9.

“We’ve set our goals, and one of our goals was (winning the) Southern League,” Shelton said. “The next one was to go undefeated (in league).

“We did that, as did the JV team. It was good for us to achieve those goals, but the next one now is to win sections and move on to bigger and better things.”