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Big Valley fends off late charge from RC for sweep
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MODESTO — Sixth-seeded Ripon Christian did not manage a lead until the third set Tuesday, and even then the Knights could not hold that lead as No. 2 Big Valley Christian swept the second-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI contest, 25-21, 25-11, 25-19.
Ripon Christian prepared for the Lions (29-5) and played well in spurts, but those spurts just were not frequent enough.
“There was a lot of analyzing we did to prepare for this game,” Knights coach Jocelyn Benziger said. “We were able to find some film on them so we could recognize the team play and strategy that they use and there were moments when we were able to hit on what that was and moments when the chaos of the game kind of got to us.
“They are a great team. They made some good moves and some good plays. We knew it was going to be a battle.”
Paige Vos (six kills, two aces) helped Ripon Christian battle its way to a 15-10 lead in the third set only for Big Valley Christian to go on a 10-1 run and then pull out the sweep.
“When we got in a groove we stuck with it,” Vos said. “We had good passing moments and we had good attacking moments. Bethany Silveira did a great job in the back row lining up with their outsides.
“Really it comes down to the mental thing. You have to click with your teammates – even when you are down you have to say to yourself, `No, I am not giving up now, it’s time to keep going.’ And in our good moments tonight that is the mentality we had and that is something to be proud of.”  
To start the season there was not a high likelihood that the Knights would have a winning season, much less make the playoffs. They lost their first four games and 12 of their first 14 before rebounding to finish 18-15. 
“At the beginning of the season we had we had our ups and downs,” Silveira said. “Then we hit something where we all just connected and from there on we just took off and that is what got us so far.
“We just established this bond that has got us this far. I love this team and I hate to see it go. We really played our hardest in that last set and that is a pure picture of what our season was meant to be.”
Silveira finished with 12 digs and a pair of aces and teammate Taylor Alger had 14 assists.
Big Valley Christian is a senior-laden team and was undefeated in Central California Athletic Association play at 12-0.
“This team is a fantastic group of seniors,” Lions coach Larry Hagstrom said. “I have seven seniors and they did a fantastic job of leading us this year.”