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Junior standout has accomplished much in three years
Ripon Christians Andie Shelton is the Manteca Bulletins 2012 All-Area Volleyball Most Valuable Player. - photo by CHRIS LEONARD/


: Nizzoli did everything imaginable for the Ripon Indians during the team’s Sac-Joaquin Section postseason run. Helping Ripon advance to the quarterfinals before falling to runner-up Ripon Christian. Nizzoli was also named to the Trans Valley All-League team.
• BRITTANY PETLANSKY, RIPON CHRISTIAN HIGH: Petlansky closed out an illustrious Ripon Christian career with her fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Final appearance. Was not the tallest outside hitter in the area, but one of the most effective.
• JULIA MARTINEZ, MANTECA HIGH: Martinez was a shining light on an otherwise dim Manteca High season. The senior earned first-team All-VOL honors as the right-side-hitter, helping Manteca at the net attacking and blocking.
• CANDISSE GRIFFIN, WESTON RANCH: Griffin was one of the area’s most explosive hitters, banging home kills for the Cougars throughout the season. Griffin’s play landed her a spot on the Valley Oak League’s first-team All-VOL squad.
• GABBY OLMO, SIERRA HIGH: Olmo was an integral part of the Timberwolves program over the past four seasons. Olmo was one of Sierra’s on-court leaders, and her play in the Valley Oak League landed her a second-team All-VOL spot.
• KRISTY VAN DIVER, RIPON CHRISTIAN HIGH: The powerful hitter helped the Knights in more ways than one. Van Diver was a staple in the Ripon Christian program over the past four seasons, closing out her high school career with back-to-back first-team All-Southern League honors.

— Jagada Chambers

With already three trips to the Sac-Joaquin Section finals and multiple MVP honors on her resume, what could possibly be left for volleyball standout Andie Shelton — touted as one of the best junior setters in the nation — to prove going into her final year at Ripon Christian?

Truthfully, The Bulletin’s 2012 All-Area Volleyball Most Valuable Player has proved enough.

Shelton’s play has done all the proving she will need in just three short seasons. It could be the powerful jump serve smashing into someone’s wrists, a perfect set from one side of the court to the other that seems impossible, or coming down with a heavy-handed outside hit that forces a double-take – was that the setter?

Shelton has amazed teammates, opponents, fans and coaches alike and even though every aspect of her game makes it look easy, the two-time Southern League Most Valuable Player is definitely fine-tuning her craft.

“I think that I always put a lot of effort into my game just because I am a competitive person,” Shelton said. “I put the same amount of effort into it whether it’s high school or club, it’s all the same.

“I’m just going hard all the time.”

The leadership qualities are unmistakable, but Shelton has definitely reaped the benefits of playing alongside a strong contingent of upperclassman.  Shelton will return for her senior season with all eyes in the area on her, but now she will be thrust into the lone leadership role.

With seven seniors graduating from this year’s SJS Division-IV runner up program, Shelton’s role will likely have to expand.

“I am excited to be a senior, but I am also pretty sad because I have always looked up to our seniors,” Shelton said. “I really loved having the seniors there; they’re older than you and they’ve experienced more. It was great to have players older than you and great people to look up to. It’s kind of nerve racking to think that I am going to be a senior next year, but I’m excited and I think I team will do well next year.

“But we’ll definitely miss those seniors we had.”

Even with the seniors the Knights were forced to move up a division in the postseason after collecting consecutive SJS banners at the Division-V level. The road was a little different, yet had the same feel as Ripon Christian, the No. 4 seed, returned to the section championship in the Division-IV tournament, only to be stopped in four by Bear River.

It was the first time in Shelton’s high school career that the postseason didn’t include a championship, placing a greater interest in capturing the section title in her high school finale.

“It definitely felt different,” Shelton said of losing in the title game. “Every year it’s just like a given that we go to sections, have a big victory and then host a game in (CIF State Championships). It felt different, but it wasn’t like it felt incomplete. We all played hard and fought really hard as a team, so it was sad.

“It was bitter sweet because nobody thought we would make it to the section championship anyway.”