Ripon High proved it could hang with reigning Trans-Valley League champion Escalon in its conference opener in the North Gym on Tuesday, but the Indians also showed how it can sometimes be their own worst enemy.
They at least showed some fight in extending the match after dropping a well-contested second set. Ripon lost in four — 18-25, 24-26, 25-17, 14-25.
“It’s a heartbreaker, I’m not gonna lie,” Ripon coach Adrienne Uecker said. “I really believed that things were going to go differently tonight. I knew that Escalon was going to play us tough and they are coached very well, but … we had too many unforced errors and that is what hurt us.”
Paige Goodger went toe-to-toe with Escalon’s Cassidy Caton and narrowly outpointed her on kills, 13-12. Kylie Stevens set 12 assists for Ripon, Kristen Carhart had seven blocks and Jourdy Richter served four aces. Libero Danny Arteaga led all players with 29 digs.
Taylor Laugero finished with 20 assists and five aces for the Cougars (2-0, 8-4). She and Caton are returning all-league selections.
“I am very proud of my girls for extending the second set and taking the third the way they did,” Uecker said. “We had the momentum and we were playing very close to error-free at the time. We have something we have to work out, and I look forward to seeing them again and changing the way things ended.”