RIPON — Jenna Hofman was ready when her number was called.
The Ripon Christian senior found out just prior to game time Monday that she would be the starting setter and she did not disappoint, tallying 36 assists in a 25-19, 25-10, 25-10 sweep of Le Grand. It was a battle between the top two teams in the Southern Athletic League.
“She has been setting here and there for us during the year and I told her before the game that she was going to be starting,” Knights coach Kayla Kootstra said of Hofman. “It took her a little bit of the first game to get settled and she was an important asset.”
Hofman battled the last-second jitters to pull through.
“I really had to step up tonight,” Hofman said. “I was pretty nervous but in the end you just have to execute.”
Ripon Christian (7-0 SAL, 22-3 overall) closed out the first set on a 9-0 run, nearly identical to the 9-1 run that the Bulldogs (6-1, 11-9) started the night on, largely due to the net play of Priscilla Barnett. The 6-foot-2 senior had three blocks and two kills in Le Grand’s first eight points, but after the first set she only had four more kills.
“Their middle (Barnett) blocked really well at the beginning of the first game,” Kootstra said. “She is a solid blocker and we just had to figure out how to get around her and to get everyone involved in our offense so she couldn’t predict where we were going.
“Once we settled down and our passing got in system we were able to mix up where our sets were going and got into a rhythm and were able to push through and finish that first game.”
And once that first game was over, the night belonged to the Knights. The only time they would again trail was in the first point of the second set, with runs of 9-0 in the second game and 7-0 and 5-0 in the third.
Jordan Vander Veen just missed a double-double for Ripon Christian with 10 digs and eight kills along with an ace.
“I don’t want any ball to drop so I just go for everything,” Vander Veen said. “And I try to make my passes to the setter as good as possible.
“We have a good setter and she feeds me when I am on.”
Emily Van Groningen led the Knights with 10 kills and four of her team’s 16 aces. Avery McMurray added eight kills and four assists and Ava Van Groningen posted six kills and three aces.
Ripon Christian 2, Le Grand 0
Megan Weststeyn tallied 20 assists and five aces to lead the Knights to a pair of 25-12 wins.
Ripon Christian’s Leah Van Wyngarden added eight kills and Anneke Dyt hammered out five aces.