By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Best friends sign with same school
VB--Ripon signees pic
Ripon High seniors Ashlyn Eisenga, front from left, and Sam McCreath were joined by assistant coach Tyler White, back row from left, Debra Kennedy, athletic director Rod Wright, Madison McCreath, Doug McCreath, Susie McCreath and head coach Erin Cutino on their signing day Wednesday morning. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

RIPON — Best friends and phenomenal volleyball players, Ashlyn Eisenga and Sam McCreath have what Ripon head coach Erin Cutino calls a “Siamese twins-like power” on the court.

“They don’t actually have to communicate much at all because one always know where the other one is,” Cutino said.

And they know where they’ll be at this point next year.

Ripon’s top players are both heading to Central Connecticut State University in New Britain after fulfilling their commitments by signing their national letters of intent Wednesday morning.

“Going 3,000 miles away is hard, but with Sam by my side I’m so much happier and excited,” Eisenga said.

Eisenga and McCreath aren’t always on the same page.

CCSU head coach Linda Sagnelli didn’t even know they go to the same school while recruiting them. They play for different club teams — Eisenga for Pacific Coast and McCreath for Rage — and caught Sagnelli’s eye in separate matches during a showcase tournament in Las Vegas.

“A couple of days later we were talking about how we were getting contacted by these different schools, but we didn’t know we were both getting looked at by Central Connecticut,” McCreath said. “We both got our offers over the phone and we didn’t tell each other until the next day at school. 

“It was like, ‘You got an offer? Why didn’t you tell me?’ It was crazy. The coaches didn’t even know we’re from the same high school until my visit.”

CCSU competes at the NCAA Division I level and wrapped up regular-season action earlier this week with a 9-5 record in the Northeast Conference and 14-12 overall. 

“The coaches mentioned that we were going to be their best (recruiting) class coming in and that they can compete for a spot in the NCAA Tournament,” Eisenga said. “I’m excited to be part of a competitive program.”

The Ripon tandem has gotten used to winning. On Saturday, the Indians (24-4) travel to Ross to take on Branson in the second round of the CIF State Division IV Northern California Regional Championships. They captured the program’s fourth Sac-Joaquin Section title last weekend.

CCSU will get a dynamic athlete with a well-rounded game in the 5-foot-10 McCreath, who was recently named MVP of the Trans-Valley League. Eisenga, a two-time all-TVL selection, gives the Blue Devils a defensive anchor in the back row. 

Cutino said CCSU is lucky to get them both. McCreath is majoring in exercise science, while Eisenga will study athletic therapy.

“They are the perfect tag-team duo — Sam as the offensive player and Ashlyn on defense,” Cutino said. “Ashlynn also has a wicked serve and Sam is an equally great passer.

“It’s a very deep bond between them,” she added. “They have a trust and understanding for one another, and to go into college with that together is such a great thing for them. It doesn’t have to end here.”